Our month of soup continues with a very quick vegan, gluten and dairy-free chowder featuring sweet potatoes—both the white and the orange varieties.
If you enjoy the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes, you’ll enjoy this rich-tasting and oh so comforting chowder that’s perfect for a satisfying and quick week-night meal as well as for weekend entertaining.
My niece prepared this soup and chose to add a finely minced jalapeno pepper, sautéing it along with the garlic and celery. A great idea when we crave bolder flavors and a little heat.
A few sweet-potato facts
Until a couple of days ago when I began writing this preface for Sweet Potato Chowder, I had no idea of just how popular (the 7th principal world food crop) and versatile sweet potatoes are:
- George Washington Carver of peanut fame developed 118 different products from sweet potatoes, including using them as an alternative to corn syrup.
- And this is amazing: there is such a product as sweet potato flour. The USDA used it during the First World War to “stretch the diminishing supplies of wheat flour in baked goods.” (Could this be a new gluten-free flour that would allow us to cut back on the sweetener as well?)
Perhaps the most important fact to know is that sweet potatoes, as they were labeled by a colonial physician, are a true “vegetable indispensable”—nutrient rich, delicious and a favorite the world over.
Sweet Potato Chowder w/ Almond Cream
So comforting, so delicious, so fast—so vegan, gluten and dairy-free!
For a bolder flavor, add a minced Serrano or jalapeño pepper to the soup along with the garlic.
Yield: 16 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
1½ cups chopped celery, 1/3-inch dice
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sea salt
Dozen twists fresh black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves (1 tablespoon fresh)
7 cups (2 1/3 pounds) sweet potatoes, peeled, ½-inch dice
6 cups (2 pounds) yams, peeled, ½-inch dice
1½ cups organic corn, frozen and defrosted
1 cup blanched, slivered almonds
2 thinly sliced scallions
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cover the pot and cook about 5 minutes until it is translucent. Remove the lid and stir in the celery, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves and cook for about another 5 minutes till the onion begins to color.
Stir in the potatoes and 6 – 6½ cups of water to just cover the potatoes. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; partially cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile prepare the Almond Cream by combining the slivered almonds with 2 cups of water in a blender for about 4 minutes on medium-high speed till very smooth.
Add the corn to the soup. Simmer the soup partially covered for another 5 minutes. Stir in the Almond Cream. Puree 4 cups of the soup (in two batches in the blender) and return it to the pot. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with the thinly sliced scallions.