Sweet Potato & Corn – a Savory Summer Soup!


A savory sweet potato & corn soup!

Still being relatively new to the Eastern Shore, and not owning our own farm, we have many friendly neighbors who stop by to share vegetables from their own gardens. This week we received fresh tomatoes and red banana peppers, plus a few yellow squash. What to do, what to do?

The corn fields are at the point where they should be harvested soon. The drought we are experiencing right now isn’t helping; I am not sure how long the corn will be available so…

Sweet potato and corn soup!

I’ll save the tomatoes and the yellow squash for another day. Still need to get a sweet potato and some corn. A while back, I learned one (of the many) secrets of the Shore, something kept close to the chest by most here, and for good reason – the location an unmanned vegetable stand that uses the honor system for payment.

Known as the Fresh Market (although there is no sign) it is located at…wait, I’m not supposed to tell…sorry. (I will say this, it’s on the Eastern Shore and it’s by a corn field. Now you have to do the leg work to find it. Good luck!) Anyhow, the Fresh Market has a variety of vegetables, refreshed daily by the farmers nearby. There is usually a handwritten price list tacked to the wall, sometimes prices are written on the larger items, such as melons. There is a cash box nailed to the wall; just put enough cash in to cover what you take. The honor system! Apparently it still works well here; not sure this would happen in Virginia Beach. 😦

Just pay for what you take...

I picked up some corn, only 6 ears needed for the soup, and they were priced at $3 a dozen. My lovely wife put money in the box – I bet she paid for a dozen anyway. Hey, the family farmers need all the help they can get!

Now for the soup. This was my first time creating this pseudo chowder and I must say it turned out better than I imagined.

Sweet Potato – Corn Soup

1 large Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed into pieces no larger than a 1/2 inch.
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 can (14 oz) Chicken Stock
1 can (14 oz) Water
6 ears of corn, shucked, kernels shaved of the cob
1/2 Red Banana Pepper, seeded, chopped
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Salt to taste (please use some! It makes a difference!)
1/2 cup Oyster Crackers, crushed almost into a fine meal consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Then start preparing the vegetables.

Put the sweet potato cubes in a baking dish, slather with the Olive oil.
Roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for 10 minutes, stir a bit to prevent sticking, then roast for another 10 minutes. If they are not fully cooked, it’s alright.

In a large sauce pan, place the roasted sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients except the crushed oyster crackers.

Stir the ingredients to mix in the seasonings, then heat on the stove top until the soup starts boiling. Reduce heat and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the crushed oyster crackers bit by bit, stirring after each addition, until the soup thickens to your liking.

There you have it – you are done! Serves 4.

It’s not a chowder in the traditional sense; there is no milk or heavy cream added. But… the cheddar cheese gives this soup a nice creaminess and the oyster crackers thicken everything without the slick taste of corn starch or the lumps of flour. The banana pepper isn’t hot at all; it gives the soup a nice textural element plus some color.

The best part is the sweetness of the orange potato cubes and fresh corn, balanced against the savory seasonings of the cayenne and black pepper.

Sweet Potato – Corn Soup. Perfect with a BLT on a nice summer evening by the outdoor fireplace. Try it and let me know what you think!


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