If I never look at another chowder again...
To prep for the first Good + Full, I made about eight batches of sweetcorn chowder. I got to know this soup in a way many people will never want to their dearest friends. We shared some swell times and some downright bad times. The main thing I will say about sweetcorn chowder is that it sounds fun enough- sure- why not- Cape Cod- crumbled crackers mixing in with the sand dunes- knitwear of some description. A distantly-related Kennedy sauntering towards us on the horizon with news from the beach hut and maybe an aperitif. But this soup is also quite easy to make taste gross. There are four things I would recommend not doing.
1. Blending the soup will give it a chuggy consistency. I'm not going to elaborate any more than that. Avoid blending. I'd recommend thinking of this chowder as a very colourful stew and leaving it at that.
2. Adding acid (like lemon or lime juice) during the cooking process, will also make this soup taste a bit chuggy. Add the lime in this recipe right at the end, so it's more of a spark on the flavour and you can't taste it with every spoonful.
3. Lentils make this too thick. I kept on beginning with lentils for this, and couldn't work out why the chowder wasn't quite coming together- it doesn't need them. Sweetcorn chowder is a stewy broth. Lentils turn it to mush. And I don't ever say that.
4. Fresh corn is a great thing to show off about but if you can't find it I'm not gonna bust your balls telling you to only use the corn off the cob. Frozen is picked in season and is much easier to store, use in small amounts and cook with. I do insist on celery though.
That's what you can't do. Here's what you can. This recipe mixes up sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, coriander and coconut milk, like a tasty Thai broth with a final kick of hot sauce and limes dipped in paprika to serve.
I like to eat this chowder with broken crackers and maybe a super fresh guacamole.
Makes six bowls
1 white onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
3 carrots, chopped small
2 celery stalks, chopped small
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 bay leaf
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
500ml vegetable stock
400ml coconut milk
1 chopped chilli
1 tbsp hot sauce
Handful of chopped coriander
Lime pieces dipped in paprika
Saute the onion in a large pan with some oil. Add garlic, then the carrots and celery. Gently cook so you can begin to smell the garlic and celery, and the carrot and onion softens. Then add the cumin, coriander and bayleaf.
Next, tip in the sweet potato chunks and the vegetable stock. Mix through and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato begins to soften. Then pour in the coconut milk and sweetcorn. Cook for another ten minutes until the carrots and sweet potato are soft the whole way through.
Serve up with chopped chilli, a little hot sauce and lime wedges.