This past weekend my lazy self, still reeling from the previous week’s time change and the disappearance of the sun for ever and ever, and desperate for satisfaction achieved with a minimum of effort, finally accomplished several months’ intention of buying a slow cooker. The promised enclosed “book of recipes” was pretty scanty and mostly involved large hunks of meat. I have nothing against large hunks of meat, but I got the device with one purpose in mind, the one we all share here. So I trolled the web to inspire and guide improvisation, and ten hours later I had a really good Lazy Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. (I actually used yams, but this sounds better.)
If you have the energy, finely chop a couple of cloves of garlic and sauté in a little olive oil just until it’s fragrant, and set aside. Me, I didn’t make the effort, but it probably would have been nice.
Lazy Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
|Chicken Broth, Sweet Potato, Yams
- 2 good-sized yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1/2 inch)
- 1 medium onion, chopped the sautéed garlic
- 2 cans whole-kernel corn (15-16 oz.), drained
- 1 teaspoon salt fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable, or vegetarian “chicken” flavor)
|Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the order above
|Put the cooker on low, and cook for about 8 hours. (At about 7 hours I checked the yams to see if they were tender.)
|Once the yams are tender, stir everything together. Use an immersion blender to break up the ingredients as much as you want--I like my chowder chunky, but breaking up some of the yams and corn makes the soup thicker and more luxurious. (The very ambitious/elegant can move the soup to a blender to puree before returning it to the slow cooker. I’ll cheer you on from my fainting couch.)
|Add: 2 cups half-and-half or whole milk (depending on how virtuous you want to be)
|4 tablespoons unsalted butter
|1 teaspoon smoked sweet or hot paprika (optional)
|Close up the pot and cook for an hour more. Taste the soup, correct the seasoning (it may well need more salt, to balance the sweet yams and dairy), and serve.
|The soup was good right away, but the bowl I had for lunch the following noon, after the soup (and I) had rested overnight, developed an intense creamy sweetness, plenty of corn flavor, and a bright orange color.
|I put in the smoked paprika to simulate bacon. I like bacon in chowder, but the same lazy self who bought the cooker in the first place was not about to fry up a few slices and dirty another pan (see the garlic note above). My friend Mary-Ann suggested that one could partially substitute frozen corn that had been roasted for a while to caramelize. In season we could talk about fresh corn. In either case I’d have to figure out the volume equivalents of two cans of corn--much more effort than I intended, and completely unnecessary for what turned out to be a decadent soup, maybe next time.