Monday, April 16, 2012

Yam, Potato And Corn Chowder

Happy Monday everybody!

Once again I made too much yam and potato mash with Sunday night supper...well, I did it on purpose though. So...? why not over-make lots of something, so that it can be incorporated into something else? I love the idea of cutting corners where meal preparation is concerned, don't you...? The theory of cooking once - two meals... YES - bring it on!

Soup, oh how I love thee... I cannot count the ways...I just can't seem to get enough of creating different renditions using left-overs from the fridge or from previous meals. Its a challenge I take on each week as I prepare the cauldron for an amalgamation of culinary delights simmered in stock for that perfect body-warming liquid. There is always something kicking around to add to a soup, right? So last night's yam and potato mash turns into today's Yam, Potato and Corn Chowder -  in keeping with my weekly soup cauldron for Hubs' lunches. I truly am lucky that Hubs never tires of eating home made soup!

Soup has been around for thousands of years, in fact it has been traced back as far at 6,000 BC! In those days, before proper cooking vessels like clay pots, soup was cooked in animal hides or water tight baskets made of bark or reeds and the liquid was heated by adding hot rocks. Ok, I don't know about you, but I am feeling pretty good about my stainless steel pots and GE gas hot rocks required in this kitchen! Can you imagine heating a pile of rocks over an open fire, then transferring them (probably burning your pinkies in the process) to a dried out deer skin full of water, then adding your herbs and maybe some meat only to let the whole thing simmer until the rocks cooled, then start the whole process again until you were finally rewarded with an early rendition of Soup?! I can think of much better ways to spend my time...

The word soup comes from the French word soupe, which was derived from the Latin word suppa, meaning 'bread soaked in broth'. Have you ever wondered where the expression to sop up soup or stew came from? Sop comes from a Germanic source meaning a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew. There's my soup 101 lesson for the day...

I created this healthy and delicious chowder, by using the leftover yam and potato mash for the base of my soup, then adding in some nitrate free bacon and corn kernels as well as South-Western spices to give it some added kick. The result is a creamy, yet still chunky chowder that's light as well as hearty - the perfect take to work lunch...or in my case stay at home lunch! 

Yam, Potato and Corn Chowder

About 3-4 cups leftover yam and potato mash (or leftover mashed potatoes)
4 strips nitrate free bacon (fat trimmed), fried until crispy
1 tomato, diced
1-1/2 tsps cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
3 scallions, sliced
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (I use Pacific Organic, but you can use your favourite brand)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
Bunch fresh cilantro

1. In stock pot, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crispy; add tomato, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes; add chicken stock, mashed potatoes (and yams if using), corn kernels and scallions.
2. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour. Add about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, stir to blend. Garnish with additional cilantro.
Serves 4-6.

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