Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder

Call the doctor! It seems I have a fever.  And the only prescription is more chowder!

I’m really sorry for what just happened there.  See, I haven’t slept for a whole night for the past 8 or so months, and among other things, my sense of humor is really suffering.  (Or, getting more awesome, depending on your personal taste in funnies.)

Anyway.  I’ve been going chowder crazy lately.  When the weather turns chilly, I love a good pot of soup to warm me up.  But we’re not exactly the shallow-bowls-of-bisque-as-a-first-course types of people, so a thick, chunky, meal-in-itself chowder is perfect.  With a hunk of crusty bread or a salad, it makes an ideal dinner. (Isn’t that so cliche?  I hate that it’s true. But you know what, you probably could have figured that out without me saying it.  I should give you guys more credit.) Actually, we had this chowder with some cheese quesadillas and it couldn’t have had a more perfect pairing.  So there, crusty bread.

So as I was leafing through my recipe box, and came across a handwritten recipe (scrawled on the back of a high school class schedule) for this sweet potato chowder, I knew I had to make it.  It’s like my younger, cuter, high school self was sending me a message from the past.  It’s a bit of a mystery why I would have chosen to copy down this recipe when I was in high school(who the heck was I making chowder for when I was 16?!), since I don’t remember doing it.  It’s also a bit of a mystery where it came from- it doesn’t say.   The only clue to its origins was that it was clearly during my junior year, first semester, and that I had Spanish first period.

Wherever it came from, this chowder is good.  It’s smoky and rich and filling, with a wonderful kick from the chipotles.  The sweet potato is supposed to be the star, but it’s really just the perfect backdrop for the delicious tidbits of bacon and sweet nuggets of corn and peppers, and of course, the warm, insanely smoky chipotles.  It couldn’t be simpler to throw together, and aside from a small amount of bacon (Excuse me, what are you muttering about half a pound? A measly amount!), it’s reasonably healthy.  You know I’m not usually a health nut, but the fact that it’s healthy will become important later on, once you’re going in for your second bowl and you need some sort of justification for eating the better part of the pot.

Thank you, sixteen-year-old self.  Thank you so very much.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Chowder

This is absolutely perfect with a small dollop of sour cream and a few sprigs of cilantro (or parsley, if you’re anti-cilantro). It was great with some cheese quesadillas on the side, but I suppose it would be fine with just some crusty bread, too.

½ lb thick-sliced bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces

½ red pepper, diced

½ green pepper, diced

1/2 orange pepper, diced

1 medium white onion, diced

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

3-4 cups chicken broth

3 chipotle chiles (from can of chipotles in adobo sauce)

2 cups of corn cut from the cob (about 2 ears)

1 cup milk (or cream, if you like things a bit thicker and creamier)

1 tsp salt

Cook the bacon in a large stockpot over medium heat until it begins to crisps.  Spoon off the bacon fat, except for a small amount.  Add the peppers and onion to the bacon and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the veggies are tender.  Add the sweet potatoes, chicken broth, and chipotles and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Stir in the corn, milk, and salt and bring to a simmer.  Serve.

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