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Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes and Ham

Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes and Ham
To dice bell peppers, make a circular cut around the top of the pepper, at the "shoulders," and pull off the stem and attached inner seed core. Quarter the pepper and remove any remaining seeds. Trim away the white ribs, which taste fine but aren't very attractive, then cut the pieces into small squares. This is an exclusive online recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Collection series.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup diced firm, baked smoked ham
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large sweet potato, about 1 lb., peeled and cut
      into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Directions:

Holding 1 of the ears of corn by its pointed end and steadying its stalk end on a cutting board, cut down along the ear with a sharp knife to strip off the kernels, turning the ear with each cut. Repeat with 2 of the ears of corn. Put the kernels in a bowl and set aside.

Score the kernels on the remaining 2 ears of corn by running the tip of a sharp knife down the length of the ear. Place each ear in a bowl and, using the back of a knife, scrape down the length of the ear to squeeze out the pulp from the scored kernels. Set the pulp aside.

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ham and cook, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.

Add the onion and bell peppers to the pot, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, sweet potato and the 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the ham and corn kernels. Cover and cook until the potato is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the corn pulp, cream and hot-pepper sauce. Cook just until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot. Serves 8.

An exclusive online recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).