Since Southern California “winter” is in full swing, we decided the main dish for our NYE dinner should be hearty and warming. We liked the idea of a chowder, and after creating several versions, we eventually landed on a sweet potato corn chowder. Corn chowder is always a crowd-pleaser but sweet potatoes give this version a nice seasonal twist. The Serrano and roasted Anaheim chiles provide a spicy kick and sour cream makes it thick and rich. This is an excellent one pot meal, and goes great with a variety of toppings. Our favorites so far are avocado, green onion, and tortilla chips, but we encourage you to experiment with your own combinations.
By the way, this recipe has proven to be more forgiving than we originally thought. After each taking turns making our own minor changes, we decided on the recipe below as our favorite version. In all the excitement of cooking for our party, though, we managed to completely leave out the chili powder! Luckily, the only person who realized it was Mai-yan, and our guests must not have noticed anything missing because every last spoonful was eaten.
There are many different types of camping and because of this, it’s difficult to create one recipe that suits each type. For car camping, you can have almost all the luxuries of home, whereas for backpacking trips, you can only take the few ingredients and tools you can carry in a backpack. Because of this, where it makes sense, we’ll come up with what we call the “dirty version” of a recipe, which is the pared down version that is more suitable for less luxurious camping. This recipe is a great candidate for a possible dirty version that can be taken deeper into the backcountry. Testing that will give us a great excuse for a backpacking trip in the near future, so keep your eye out for the results!
Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideCar Camping
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 pound frozen or canned corn
- 1 serrano chile, chopped, seeds removed
- 1 anaheim chile
- 3 cups vegetable stock, or equivalent boullion
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- toppings, such as tortilla chips, avocado and green onions
- Cutting board
- Large pot
- Long tongs
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing spoon
Roasting the Anaheim chile:
- Char the skin on all sides of the chile by holding it over the flame of a camp stove or fire.
- Scrape off skin with a spoon. If too tough, cover the hot chile with plastic wrap for 5 minutes to steam and try again. When the chile is cool enough to handle, chop it and set aside.
- In a large pot, add butter or oil and sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chiles, corn, and spices, and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream.
- Serve with tortilla chips, avocado, and green onions.