Have you ever had the urge for comfort food but you don’t want it to be too heavy? I know, it sounds silly, but here I am. It’s been cooler (for South Florida) but not cool enough to turn off the air conditioner—just use it a lot less. But it’s still technically wintertime, and I can’t help that comfort food craving this time of year. I guess I’m just wired that way. But then I happened upon this colorful Sweet Potato Chowder that might just be the solution to my little “problem”. It’s not vegetarian, but it is a mostly vegetable chowder that’s packed with healthy things like sweet potato and kale with a creamy broth. I’m game to give it a try, how about you?
This sweet potato chowder is a hug in a bowl! Made with lots of greens and crunchy pancetta and pepitas for topping, it’s a perfect weeknight meal.
My pre-shopping pantry check only yielded a few ingredients. I had the spices dried spices (salt, pepper, and ground sage) and the whole spices (nutmeg and garlic). I checked my refrigerator and also found butter, but I must have missed the chicken broth concentrate. Turns out I didn’t have enough but thank goodness for bouillon powder! It wasn’t low-sodium, but it saved the day.
I found almost everything else I needed at my regular grocery store. My favorite was a 4-ounce package of diced pancetta. Actually, it was the only option for pancetta, but I’m not complaining.
I wasn’t sure how many sweet potatoes so I went with 3 and only used 2 (they were on the large side). The only item I couldn’t find was Tuscan kale (a.k.a. dinosaur kale or lacinato kale). Curly kale seems to be the most common type of kale in my area so that’s what I went with.
Instead of prepping everything, I began cooking while I prepped since the first step is rendering the pancetta and I bought it already diced. I allowed 5 minutes for my 5.5-quart Dutch oven to preheat first.
I was able to do the peeling and chopping while the pot was preheated and the pancetta cooked. Also, I mixed up the chicken bullion at the same time since I forgot to buy more stock concentrate.
The instructions were easy to follow, and I didn’t have any questions as I worked. My Sweet Potato Chowder slowly came together as I added more ingredients and allowed them to simmer.
Step 4 gives the option of serving the chowder right after the kale is added or simmering it for an additional 10 minutes. I decided on the extra simmering since my husband isn’t a big fan of raw kale. It softened but still gave the chowder some extra texture, and the roasted pepitas and pancetta added even more crunch.
- 5 minutes to prep (really just preheating the Dutch oven)
- 45 minutes to cook
- 2 minutes to add kale and adjust seasonings
- 10 minutes to cook
- 1 hour 2 minutes total
The recipe lists 10 minutes to prep, 45 minutes to cook, and 55 minutes total. I went a little over that, but my time does include an optional 10 minutes to soften the kale. Not counting that I am actually a little under the time listed at 52 minutes.
Storage & Leftovers
When it came time to box up the leftovers, I decided to add the extra pancetta and pepitas to the container. I find that if I don’t, the toppings are forgotten and end up going bad.
I got a nice surprise when I served the chowder the next day. The pancetta (at least I think it was the pancetta) added a lovely hint of smokiness. The other flavors also melded and developed, and, as is typical for soups, it was even better the next day.