Originally created 11/15/06

Try sweet potato-corn soup for Thanksgiving



Sweet potatoes are ever-present on the Thanksgiving table, and this week I'm sharing a recipe for sweet potato-corn soup submitted by Paula Basher, of Aiken. The recipe was shared by her friend Pam Donnel, of Dallas. Paula says Pam is a corn chowder aficionado, so Paula knew the recipe would be delicious.

Ms. Donnel uses fresh sweet potatoes. I tested the recipe using canned sweet potatoes and the soup was just as good. Drain the canned potatoes and dice.

In Ms. Donnel's recipe, the potatoes are left chunky, but I have tried pureing a little of the soup to give it a soft orange color and to distribute the sweet potato flavor throughout. You can cool the soup and pure it in a blender or food processor, or pure it while hot using an emersion blender. This soup would make a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving menu.

I've included other reader recipes that would be nice additions to Thanksgiving. Michelle Zupan, of Martinez, submitted a recipe for a rich soup that's baked inside a pumpkin.

"I've made it for groups for years and it's always a hit. The variations are endless, but always welcome on a cold, autumn evening. Serve with warm rolls or freshly baked corn bread and a green salad for a terrific meal," she said.

The third recipe, Kitty's Vegetable Casserole, comes from Peggy Holl, who said the recipe was passed along by Kitty Binns, who used to work in the accounting department at The Augusta Chronicle.

"Anytime we had a dinner, Kitty would bring this dish. Everyone loved it and I still have the copy she gave me in her handwriting. Kitty passed away a few years ago, but every time I fix this recipe I think of her with much affection."

Pam's Southern Sweet Potato and Corn Soup


4 cups diced fresh sweet potatoes*

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 cups milk, divided

1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, cook sweet potatoes in boiling water over high heat on stovetop for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook until tender. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5-6 minutes. Add the corn, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until hot.


Makes 8-10 servings.


* 4 cups canned sweet potatoes can be substituted for the fresh sweet potatoes. Just drain well and dice.

With whole milk: 186 calories, 8 grams fat (4.6 saturated) 24.3 grams carbohydrates, 6.2 grams protein, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 2.4 grams fiber, 358 milligrams sodium and 159 milligrams calcium


With skim milk: 155 calories, 4 grams fat 2.4 grams saturated, 24.9 grams carbohydrates, 6.4 grams protein, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 2.4 grams fiber, 361 milligrams sodium and 175 milligrams calcium

Michelle Zupan's Dinner in a Pumpkin


1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

1 pound ground pork sausage

2 tablespoon Cajun spice (or your favorite low-sodium spice blend)

2 14.5-ounce cans beef or vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups long grain and wild rice mix (Ms. Zupan uses roasted garlic or vegetable & herb flavors)

1 10.75-ounce can cream of celery soup

1 10.75-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 4-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

14 ounces frozen green beans

1/2 cup each chopped celery, chopped onion, sliced carrots

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium thick-skinned pumpkin

Thoroughly brown the ground beef and sausage in a Dutch oven. Drain and return to the Dutch oven. Add the garlic and saut until it becomes fragrant. Mix in salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning. (If using ground turkey, season it more heavily.) Remove from heat and set aside.


Prepare rice mixture, according to directions, in a saucepan using the stock instead of water.


Heat oven to 400. Remove top from the pumpkin and clean out seeds and pulp as though you're carving a jack-o'-lantern. Coat the inside of the pumpkin with the remaining Cajun spice.

Mix canned soup and vegetables into the meat mixture, add the rice and mix thoroughly. Season to taste. Fill the pumpkin with the mixture and place onto a jelly roll pan (or a cookie sheet with sides). Replace the pumpkin top. Bake 2 hours or until pumpkin is tender. During baking, remove the pumpkin top for about 30 minutes to help the soup liquefy completely. Scoop out portions of filling and pumpkin pulp to serve.


Makes 10 servings.

*Use a low and wide pumpkin shaped like a soup tureen and free of soft spots. Do not use the "ghost" or bumpy-skin pumpkins.

Kitty's Vegetable Casserole


For the casserole:


1 can white shoepeg corn (drained)

1 can French style green beans (drained)

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 can cream of celery soup

1 small carton sour cream

1/2 cup grated cheese

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread in a 3-quart casserole and bake 25 minutes.

Topping:


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 cup cheese crackers

Melt butter and crumble crackers into melted butter. Sprinkle on top of vegetable casserole, bake an additional 25 minutes.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional analysis provided by registered dietitian Jeannie Hatfield-Laube, research dietitian at the Georgia Prevention Institute, Medical College of Georgia, in conjunction with the Augusta District Dietetic Association.

Visit augustachronicle.com/recipes to rate, review and search for your favorite recipe from The Augusta Chronicle archive.

Coming next week: There are four ingredients in Kelly's hot onion dip, a recipe submitted by Bonnie Coward, of Aiken. See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, Ga 30903-1928. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net. You can find previous recipes at augustachronicle.com/karin.