Corn & sweet potato chowder

Kingston micro-homesteader Laurie Sybertz adapts this recipe to suit her guests and larder. She might skip the bacon and use a lump of butter or dollop of oil for vegetarians, eliminate the milk and double-down on the corn broth for vegans, add a chopped hot red pepper or two at the sauté stage for spice fiends, or thicken the broth with a little flour slurry for her mother. In the depth of winter, she makes a shift with corn she froze back in September, substituting chicken or vegetable broth (or water) for the corn broth.

Like so many soups, this one benefits from being made a day before—the flavors meld and mellow.

  • 2 or 3 ears of sweet corn (at least—more if you are using corn broth only)
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped fine (or 3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ¾ inch cubes
  • 4 cups whole milk (or more corn broth) salt and pepper, to taste

Slice and scrape the corn from the cobs and set aside. (You need at least 2 cups.)

Put the cobs (chopped or broken up if it’s easier) in a pot and cover with cold water. Simmer a half hour.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, fry the bacon till crisp over medium-high heat. Remove bacon from fat and set aside. Sauté onion in fat till tender (adding a little butter if needed). Add potatoes and cover with the corn stock, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low until tender.

Add corn and milk (or more corn broth) and simmer about 5 minutes. Check seasonings.

If you want thicker chowder, add two tablespoons of flour mixed with cold water to soup and bring to a boil to thicken, or, better yet, puree a portion of the soup and stir back and reheat. Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon or maybe some chopped sweet red pepper.

Serves 6.

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