Souper Tuesday: Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

If anyone were to ask Pat and me about our secret to a happy marriage (they haven’t), surely one of us would borrow this line from Best in Show“We both love soup.” (Not to mention talking or not talking.)

I love to make soup. There are a million and one varieties. And it’s something I can make that both meat eaters and non-meat eaters will like. (Surely we can agree that nothing beats tomato soup and grilled cheese on a cold winter day.)

One of my secret (okay, I’ve told many of you) dreams is to open a restaurant. The working name of my first one is “Schultz’s Soup Shack and Soft Serve Emporium.” In the winter, I would serve up all my soups. And in the summer, it would be twist cones and hot fudge sundaes as far as the eye could see. As someone raised on ice cream shops with names like Top Cone, Dairy Dream and Dairyhaus, I find it perplexing that I can’t find anything of the sort in Durham, where more than half the year has weather conducive to eating an ice cream cone on a picnic table. I love me some Pelican’s Sno Balls, but people, come on.

Anyway. Sunday, I made soup. Tonight, I made soup.  I want to post more about cooking; why not soup? I know, I kind of pulled a bait and switch last week, leading with that lovely pumpkin muffin photo and then providing illustrations on how to skin a squirrel instead of actually posting the muffin recipe. I’m sorry. That doesn’t really count as a cooking post. So I’m christening today Souper Tuesday, and will try to post a soup recipe every week.

I made a soup today that I thought was going to be awesome: Carrot, Apple and Ginger. It was a Whole Foods recipe that I printed off their website two years ago and then never made. I specifically bought parsnips today for the big event. The soup was…okay. I mean, it was pretty good. But I was frustrated by the recipe (I needed to roast the vegetables twice as long as it stated; it required more liquid than was called for), and so it doesn’t seem right to share it here. Not yet, at least.

So I’m going to share with you another fall soup. I made this one Sunday night to take to a fundraising “Soup-a-thon.” This recipe has a special place in my heart. It’s one of the first things I ever cooked for Pat (I didn’t start cooking until after we were married) at our first house together, a rental on Alabama Avenue. I can still picture it; it was the night of his work’s Christmas party.  The recipe is from one of the first blogs I ever read, “Shades of Jaime,” which I recently tried to find but seems to be gone.

No one I’ve served this soup to hasn’t liked it. (Unless they were just being nice. In that case, thank you.) It’s pretty healthy, and better yet, it’s really easy. And so, I give you

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup chopped celery (3-4 stalks)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. chopped carrots (about 2 medium)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14.75 oz. can creamed corn
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute celery and onion in olive oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and summer for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Cool slightly. Mash with potato master until you are happy with the consistency. Or, like me, use an immersion blender or process in a blender until mostly smooth.

Bonus tip: I served some rosemary bread that I had in the freezer with tonight’s Carrot, Apple and Ginger soup (not the best complement, but close enough). I still had some bread left after dinner, so I finally did something I’d been meaning to do forever: make croutons. Dudes, it was so easy. Cube the bread, toss it in melted butter, 300 degree oven for 20 minutes. Pat already ate half of them while they were cooling in the pan. So there you go: add “We both love croutons” to our list of secrets.

Let me know what you think about the soup. And enjoy!