The minute I hear the word chowder, I'm in. There is something so hearty and comforting about this type of soup. The textures, the taste, the look creamy golden, makes you want to get a spoon and dive right in. Being of Italian descendants chowders are not something you would see on the menu, I was never exposed to it till I was in my early twenties. I know, I lived a very culinary sheltered life. But I remember tasting that soup, a potato and bacon chowder, I knew that this type of soup would definitely be on my menu plan again and again.
This day and age food has grown with the aid of the Food Network, great cookbooks, magazines and also foodblogs. I love when Nicoletta and I have our Saturday morning breakfast outings, sipping fine made coffees and espressos, tasting all the different sweets, and usually picking up a Metro, first reading some devastating news then deciding that some good stuff is needed to counter all that negative, so off to the lifestyles pages to look upcoming events, art, music, and not missing out on the recipes posted, as you know us food bloggers always looking for inspiration. On this particular day a sweet potato and split pea soup caught our eye and one of our meals for the week was taken care of, and with some of my own creative juices in the mix we created Sweet Potato, Split Pea, Corn Chowder.
I am not always a creature of habit when it comes to foundations of certain dishes, as I like to experiment and have a wonderfully loaded creative mind, but when it comes to soups I usually like to start off with a mirepoix. Also known as the "trinity" of soups: carrots, celery and onions. I know I have said this before, but that smell that builds as those veggies are sauteing in that rich extra virgin olive oil always gets me so hungry and flashbacks of some Sundays in our good old Italian home come to play. The sweet potato tossed in at just the right moment mingling with that caramelized onion adding to its sweetness. I am thinking I want some freshness to come through all that creamy starch so in goes the minced ginger and grated lemon grass, and for some pungency minced garlic. For the herbs and seasoning, some fresh cracked sea salt and black pepper with a couple of bay leaves falling into the mix for a bit of earthy spice. Last touches of corn, vegetable broth, and the beautiful yellow split peas. This pot of utter goodness is left to rest on a low simmering heat till peas are the right texture and the sweet potatoes are fork tender. When it is all intensified and cooked, smelling like a pot of culinary jewels, I whip out the hand blender, remove the bay leaves, and cream the soup not too smooth, I want those bits of corn and crumbled sweet potato to give this soup a varied texture getting bits of corn and soft morsels of sweet potato, with the huskiness of the yellow split peas.
The garnishing some fresh sour cream swirled with a spoon just at the surface, we like to use the Bles-wold brand, made from a farmer south of Edmonton dedicated to keeping their animals happy and free, it does make a world of difference, I find. Then some nice toasted homemade croutons tossed in olive oil, dry herbs, parmigiano, and grated lemon grass, and placed delicately on top as not to make them sink to the bottom of the bowl, and I always like to use a fresh herb to garnish and today it is going to be basil, and a little extra grating of lemon grass and we are done. The taste of this soup rich, sweet from the mirepoix, and starchy from the sweet potatoes, a nice crunch from the corn and croutons, that distinct flavor and texture of the yellow spit peas, and then when you think the flavors are all done up from out of nowhere comes the lemon grass and that fresh basil. Absolutely delicious, spoon after spoon discovering new treasures, a perfect way to share supper with the ones you love, your passion to prepare such a feast, and their passion to eat it all up.
The bell is ringing: "Supper is ready, come and get it!"
Song of the day: "Give me one reason" by Tracy Chapman.
P.s. A great song for a soup made from the soul.Print
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 slices ginger, minced
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 tsp lemongrass, grated
- 1 carrot
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium sweet potato, washed, peeled and cut in cubes
- 1 ½ cups yellow split peas
- ¼ cup corn
- 10 cups water
- 2Tbsp vegetable broth powder
- 4 tsp sour cream
- 2 slices bread, cubed
- 1 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano
- ½ tsp dry herbs (parsley, oregano, sage, basil)
- ½ tsp grated lemongrass
- 1 leaf fresh basil, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a soup pot bring olive oil to medium to high heat.
- Toss in onions, celery, carrots.
- Stir till onions start to become translucent.
- Throw in ginger and garlic, and corn.
- Place in sweet potato, and split peas, bay leaves.
- Pour in vegetable broth, and bring to boil stirring frequently.
- Turn down heat and let simmer till sweet potato.
- Take off heat and remove bay leaves.
- With a hand blender or even a food processor blend till smooth.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F
- Place bread cubes in a bowl and toss with dried herb mix of your choice, olive oil, and grated parmigano cheese, and grated lemon grass.
- Put cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake till golden brown.
- Remove from oven.
- Ladle soup into a bowl.
- Take a teaspoonful of sour cream and swirl into soup.
- Top with croutons carefully so they don't sink into soup.
- Grate a little more lemongrass.
- Ready to serve.
- Serving Size: 6 servings
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