Corn And Sweet Potato Chowder With Saffron Cream

An example of a corn and potato chowder. Kona Gallagher/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Fresh corn and sweet potatoes make a good team. The broth in this chowder is a gorgeous sunflower yellow, thanks to the saffron, sweet potatoes, and corn. It’s best to make this chowder during corn season (late summer/early fall), so you’ll have fresh, sweet corn and can use the husks to help flavor the broth. Serve with Buttery Biscuits or Skillet Corn Bread with Chive and Brown Butter.


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  • 6 large ears fresh corn or 5 cups [700 g] frozen corn kernels
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/2-in [12‑mm] squares
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] squares
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] squares
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups [960 ml] Vegetable Stock (page 34)
  • 3/4 cup [180 ml] heavy cream
  • 1 tsp crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 scallions, trimmed, white and green sections very thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
  1. If using fresh corn, shuck the ears, remove the silks, and trim off the end so that you can stand the cob flat. Using a sharp knife and standing each cob on its end inside a large bowl, remove the kernels from the cob by working the knife straight down against the cob. Using the blunt side of the knife, scrape down the cob after the kernels have been removed to release the corn “milk.” Mix the milk and corn kernels and set aside. Do not throw out the cobs.
  2. In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until translucent. Add half of the yellow bell pepper and half of the red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato, sea­son with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring well to coat all the vegetables, for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to high, gently whisk in the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Add the corncobs (not the corn kernels). Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the potato is almost tender.
  3. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the cream and saffron and steep for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the saffron cream, corn kernels, and corn “milk” to the stockpot and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Using tongs, remove the cobs from the pot and, holding each one over the pot, use a knife to scrape off any bits of chowder or corn clinging to the cob.
  5. Ladle the chowder into mugs or bowls; sprinkle with the scallions, chives, and remaining red and yellow bell peppers; and serve.

TO GO: Pack the scallions, chives, and additional bell pepper sepa­rately and serve them at the party in small bowls.

From Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst (Chronicle Books, 2016).

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