Thursday, September 8

Food Spotlight: Sweet Potato

After two days of steady rain, we’re finally getting a break.

I was certainly ready for autumn. Ready for the kids to go back to school. Ready for a bit of scheduled normalcy. But cold, rainy days, um, no. That I hadn’t prepared for. That’s November weather, not September.

The one good thing about cold weather is soup. I love its warmth on a cold day.

So, in honor of the start of soup season, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes, Sweet Potato Chowder. It’s creamy, delicious and since it’s mostly a broth-based soup, a good option for those of us watching our waistlines.

Before I get to the recipe, read through this list of the health benefits of sweet potatoes. They just might surprise you, and hopefully encourage you to make them a regular part of your diet.

They contain beta carotene.

The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A which is necessary for healthy eyes and skin. One sweet potato provides 260% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A.

They help regulate blood sugar.

What? You say. How is that possible, it’s got carbohydrates? Don’t those spike your blood sugar levels? While sweet potatoes are mostly carbs, when they are boiled, they have a glycemic index (GI) rating of 46. Which is considered low. That’s a good thing since low GI foods break down carbohydrates more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, helping to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Researchers believe it’s not just the low GI rating in sweet potatoes that impacts blood sugar levels. There’s something in sweet potatoes called adiponectin. Adiponectin is important because it helps our bodies metabolize insulin. People with diabetes tend to have lower levels of adiponectin and sweet potato extracts have been shown to significantly increase adiponectin levels in persons with type 2 diabetes.

They are a good source of other important nutrients.

One potato provides about 100 calories, 2 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of fat, 12.5% of RDA of vitamin B6 and 28% of RDA of vitamin C. 

Sweet Potato Chowder (Adapted from The Daily Soup Cookbook by Leslie Kaul)

1 TBLS unsalted butter
1 small Spanish onion, chopped
1 ½ tsps sugar
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
4 sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ear fresh corn, kernels sliced from the cob, about ½ cup
½ cup Half-and-Half*
½ tsp minced fresh garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh curly parsley

1.     Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar and caramelize for 10 minutes, until tender and golden.
2.     Add the thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir to coat the onion.
3.     Add the stock, sweet potatoes, corn and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
4.     Stir in the Half-and-Half
5.     Remove the bay leaf and puree about a quarter of the chowder in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Note: I puree the whole pot since I like an overall smooth consistency.)
6.     Return the puree to the pot and stir in the garlic.
7.     To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls and top with the chopped parsley.

* You could substitute skim milk here to cut down further on the fat content, but research has shown that cooking sweet potatoes with a little bit of fat helps the body absorb beta carotene. 

1 comment:

  1. Potato is a complete diet and it is every one's favorite every body like to eat potato but in different ways like me i love Potato finger fries and i love it and i will try sweet potato too and i hope i will like it.