While I was working on my meal planning for October yesterday (yes, I'm behind!), I came upon a recipe called "Sweet Potato Soup." I thought it sounded good, but when I read it, I thought a chowder would be even better. I went to Allrecipes.com and they only had one recipe for sweet potato chowder and it didn't sound like what I had in mind. Then I went to Food.com and they had about 20 sweet potato chowder recipes, but none of them were quite what I had in mind either. So I just made up my own recipe. I was so excited about it that I decided to make it for dinner last night. I had everything on hand except the bacon, and Jim was more than happy to stop by the store in order to pick some up.
This is how it turned out.
Roasted Sweet Potato Chowder with Bacon
2 large sweet potatoes
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup corn
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Peel and cube one of the sweet potatoes. Boil or steam until tender. Meanwhile, wrap the other sweet potato in foil and bake at 425° for an hour and 15 minutes, or until very soft. Unwrap, peel, and mash. Set both mashed and cubed sweet potatoes aside.
In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, and ginger in butter until onions are soft but not browned. Add flour and cook for a minute or so. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to thicken, reduce heat to low add mashed sweet potato. Stir well to completely incorporate it. Then add potato cubes. If the cubes look a bit large to you once inside the pot, break them up a little bit with a potato masher. Add corn, bacon, salt, and nutmeg. Stir until well combined.
Garnish with a little bit of extra bacon crumbles, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
Note: Serving size is a guess. Jim put away the leftovers so I didn't see how much was left, but it seemed like it made a lot.
Bacon Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
4 slices bread
2 oz. Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked
Butter one side of each slice of bread with the butter. Place a few slices of cheese and two slices of bacon on the unbuttered side of one piece of bread and top with another one, buttered side up. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat and place sandwiches on. When brown and crispy on one side, flip over and cook until brown and crispy on the other side.
Remove from heat and place on cooling rack for a few minutes before cutting in half.
Makes 2 servings.
This turned out perfectly. It was just what I had in mind: creamy sweet potato flavor running throughout the chowder, with small chunks as well. I had to use two different cooking methods to achieve this, but it's not that much work and it was well worth it. I used the Pampered Chef microcooker to boil the cubes. Just put them in, cover them with water, and microwave for about 11 minutes. But you could easily do that on the stove top. And how easy is it to throw a potato in the oven?
And the bacon grilled cheese sandwiches were the perfect accompaniment. You can use any cheese you like, of course. But I had some leftover Fontina from another recipe and it worked really well. I only had enough for one sandwich, so I made Jim's with that, and I used some leftover Monterey Jack for mine. That was really good too. The fontina reminds me a little bit of Swiss, but not as bitter.