Friday, February 17, 2012

What makes a Chowder a Chowder? {Gail}

Sweet potatoes are best friends with
onions and poblano peppers in
this soup's flavor!
Another soup! Spicy Sweet Potato Chowder lives up to the Spicy part of its name for those of you who like a little kick to your food. It would be easy to cut it back the spiciness, but the creamy starchiness of the sweet potatoes and the actual cream in the soup temper it well, after the initial hit of heat. Even though I’m a bit of a sissy about super-spicy things I enjoyed the play of hot/not in each biteful. 

Poblano and Pasilla peppers have
such a lovely glossy (green!) look
We are able to purchase bacon
end cuts; packaged small for the
freezer, they are so handy! This will
be trimmed up and diced for
a nice crunchy salty topping!

...lay them down and dice! Safely!
Isn't that a terrific orange?
That means it's good for you!
Be safe dicing hard sweet potatoes.
Cut into manageable segments,
then cut in half to get flat bottoms.
Slice the halves if needed,
while they are standing up, then...

It's time for another picture of cooking onions!
These are mixed with the pasilla peppers
I had to substitute for the poblanos.
After this you add broth and sweet potatoes,
then simmer for 15 minutes.
Chowders are cream-based, and
this is no exception. Sometimes you
trade YUM for health standards.
NEVER let liquids bubble after
adding milk products!


I’d have to give this soup just an “OK” since it didn’t really live up to its chowder name. Even on reheating, it hadn’t thickened up from the potato starch; it was – is – still just potato and stuff in cream broth. Which is good, (and currently making my nose run since it got spicier as reheated spicy things will do), but I’m not sure I’d make it again. So sad, because I really like sweet potato foods, and the bacon sprinkle is fun to bite into.
***EDIT*** This soup was REALLY good a couple days later, after taking the immersion blender to it and adding some necessary salt. YUM YUM! Thick, creamy, spicy; just what I wanted on a cold dreary day! Really good. really.

Spicy Sweet Potato Chowder with bacon on top.
More about the rest of the dinner coming right up...

I served this soup alongside some baked salt/pepper pork chops topped with my own mango salsa and some steamed green beans. It was a good combo, and the meal deserves it’s own color scheme!

Baked pork chops (I'd have preferred grilled chicken, I think)
and steamed green beans on the platter
PLUS my mango salsa (right below)

Mango salsa: diced mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro
seasoned with salt and lime juice
(that's a lime juice ice cube melting in the red bowl)
 A little mango magic for you: Slice two slabs off the flatter sides (the seed inside is like a giant lima bean). Get as much mango as you can from what's left around the seed, then... follow the pictures!   

Slice a grid without cutting
through the skin.

Turn the skin inside out and use a small knife
to slice off row after row of diced mango!

If you’re looking for a Spicy Sweet Potato SOUP, or want to change up the recipe a bit and mash the potatoes or thicken it, this would be a really great starting point. Find the recipe in our cooking project book: 300 Sensational Soups. But its not chowder to me as it stands. I even looked up the word chowder just to make sure.

I might take my stick blender to the leftovers. Hmmm...


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