Well, it looks like summer is officially over, at least in my house. The pool is closed, the days and especially the nights are already a bit cooler, I've got one that's started back to school, with another going next Monday, and I can't say I'm really going to miss it. Living in Virginia, we get four full seasons, which I love and can't imagine living without, but what I could live without is the nasty, oppressive humidity (although you never lack an excuse to eat Rita's Ice!).
So bring on fall in all it's colorful glory and the filling, fantastic food that comes with it! To kick off my Welcome to Fall party, I came up with a hearty, spicy chowder. I was watching a Bobby Flay Showdown where they made some sort of Shellfish Sweet Potato Corn Chowder, but since they decided to submit their version of Clam Chowder for judging instead, the recipe didn't end up on FoodNetwork... I ended up spending about two hours on the net trying to find something similar and came up empty, so I was forced to wing it. I am SO happy with the outcome, this chowder is sweet and hearty, with just the right amount of kick, enough to just give you the sniffles without burning you up.
Chipotle Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
2-4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, finely chopped
2-3 cups Corn (fresh off the cob or frozen)
1 cup Leeks, sliced
1 large Vidalia or other Sweet Onion, chopped
5 Sweet Potatoes, roasted and cubed
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs Thyme
2 Tbs Margoram
2 boxes Chicken Stock (32oz each)
8-10 slices of Bacon
1. Wrap sweet potatoes in tin foil, do not pierce and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees. Once soft, peel and cube. * Some of these will get smashed and some will not, so cube to your desired size.
2. If using fresh corn on the cob, your cobs can be used to produce a broth. Place in a bowl with the heavy cream to infuse the corn flavor while you're cooking the chowder, discard cobs before adding the cream to the pot.
3. Fry bacon in a dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot, once crispy, remove and set aside leaving the bacon fat in your pot.
4. Cook leeks, onion, corn, thyme and marjoram in the bacon fat, stirring constantly until tender.
5. Add cubed sweet potatoes, 1-1 1/2 boxes of chicken stock, and Chipotle peppers, simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender, blend 1/2-1/3 of the soup, you want to leave some of the corn and potato cubes whole. At this point, you can add more chicken stock if needed, keeping in mind that you will still be adding in 1 1/2 cups heavy cream.
6. Simmer chowder for another 10 minutes, add heavy cream (minus corn cobs) and combine well. If your chowder seems too thick, add more chicken stock and/or water to thin until you reach the desired consistency. Top with crumbled bacon.
Tips: Serve with corn chips or a nice crusty french loaf.
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