February 1, 2013

Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder



Whew!  This Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder is one that was tough to 'get right!'  But I was determined.  And persistence paid off.

The moment I came across this recipe in a magazine, I was intrigued.  I had never thought of including sweet potatoes in a chowder, let alone making them the star of the show.  Naturally, I had to give it a try.  But ... it wasn't love at first bite.

Nope.

It was 'hmmmm, this has possibilities' at first bite ... but, this chowder took some time to get to know.

So, what kept this from being instant love?  The chipotle.  The chipotle proved to be problematic.

Chipotle peppers add a totally fabulous, rich, smoky, and delicious flavor to this chowder.  They also bring a lot of heat.  And the original recipe? ... called for three chipotle peppers.  Three.  That's a lot of chipotle.  But that's not all.  The original recipe also called for the peppers to be added to the pot early in the preparation and simmered ... for the entire cooking time ... with all the other ingredients.

Okay.  Let's think about that for a minute.  Simmering the chipotles with everything else, well, leads to them being permeated throughout every nook and crevice of the entire chowder.  With a lot of heat.

What happens when one takes a bite of completely-permeated-with-chipotle chowder, you ask?  Well, absolute instant mouth fire.  Like, fire-breathing-dragon mouth fire.  With absolutely no escape from the heat.  Broth?  Hot!  Sweet potato chunks?  Hot!  Drink of water to quench the flames?  Still hot!  And we love spicy food.  But even with that, we couldn't handle the heat.

You'd think we'd have given up on this, right?  But no.  We actually really liked the flavor of the smoky chipotle chilies combined with the sweetness of the sweet potato.  We just needed the heat turned down.


So I set out making batches with less and less chipotle.  Result?  Each one was still too hot.

So I tried a batch with no chipotle.  Result?  Boring, from a flavor perspective.  Okay, so we had discovered that chipotle was indeed an important part of the chowder party.

Then it dawned on me.  Why hadn't I thought of it before??

Don't simmer the chipotle! ... Add it at the end of the preparation!

I tried it ... And it worked.  Alas, I had the answer!  Use less chipotle, and add it at the very end of the chowder's preparation.  Voila!  The wonderful flavor combination of smoky chiptole and sweet potato, with some heat ... but good and flavorful heat instead of burn-all-the-taste-buds-off-your-tongue heat.  

And now we have a Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder we really enjoy.

See, persistence really does pay off.

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Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder
Source:  Adapted from Real Simple magazine

Ingredients
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 c. (32 oz.) chicken broth
  • 2 c. corn kernels (I use frozen)
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 small canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely minced*
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Cook in a stockpot over medium heat until crisp. Spoon off the bacon fat, leaving just a small coating in the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add the diced pepper and onion to the bacon and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and chicken broth. Cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the corn kernels, milk, salt, pepper, and chipotle chili; heat through.
*NOTE - The spicy heat of the chipotle can get away from you.  I try to take very little of the adobo sauce along with the pepper, and choose one of the smaller peppers in the can.  If you really like spicy food, select a larger pepper and/or leave a bit of adobo sauce on the pepper.  You can freeze the remaining chipotle peppers for future use.

Enjoy!



10 comments:

  1. This sounds very intetesting. I like chipotle flavors. I think the sweet potato would be a great compliment. I have to try this.

    We are starting a new party on Monday at Tumbleweed Contessa: "What'd You Do This Weekend?" I'd love it if you could bring this over next week.

    Thanks for sharing. Linda

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  2. This sounds amazing. Always love new ways to cook sweet potatoes! I am a huge fan, but my husband doesn't like the texture. Can't wait to tru! Thanks for sharing on OTMM.

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  3. This looks good and I'm always looking for soup recipes to put in my crockpot. I'm pinning this one -- and I loved your story about turning down the heat!

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  4. Delish! I love that you went outside of the traditional chowder box and used sweet potatoes in your chowder. I've pinned this and will be sharing it on my Facebook page. Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Mondays!

    Julie @ This Gal Cooks

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  5. Thanks so much for linking to Make the Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill. You are being featured tomorrow morning!
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and join me tomorrow night for Make the Scene Monday #61!

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  6. Your Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder looks delicious! Hope you have a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  7. That does sound like a very tasty soup! I am loving the sweet potato and chipotle combo! We just made chili with a whole can of those peppers and it wasn't that hot at all...I wonder if we had a bad batch? Definitely wasn't fire breathing hot!

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  8. Now that you've perfected the original recipe, I can't wait to give it a try.

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I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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