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Sweet Potato Chowder with Fried Sage Butter

Sweet Potato Chowder with Fried Sage Butter
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Back in the day, when I used to teach at a cooking school, this is the kind of soup that we would start off with. It’s easy to make and a great lesson in how to season soup. Taste it at each stage of cooking before adding the salt, spice, acid and cream and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s that easy: I like the hearty chunkiness of this soup the way it is, but if you’d like it a little more sophisticated, process the soup, slightly cooled, in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender to make it smoother.

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Sweet Potato Chowder with Fried Sage Butter

Sweet Potato Chowder with Fried Sage Butter


  • 17 sage leaves, 5 thinly sliced and 12 whole
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large russet or Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Dash grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


  1. On a large cutting board, thinly slice the sage, dice the onion and potatoes and mince the garlic in separate piles.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers add the sliced sage leaves and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute or until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the sherry to the pan and cook until it has reduced somewhat, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, potatoes and 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes a few times (or more) to thicken it. Season the soup with the lemon juice, cayenne, nutmeg, a few grinds of pepper and heavy cream. Taste again and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, nutmeg or cayenne.
  5. Just before serving, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter sizzles, add the whole sage leaves and cook them in the butter until crispy and browned, about 1 minute. Transfer the sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate and pour off the browned butter into a heatproof bowl (so that it doesn’t over brown).
  6. Ladle the soup into heated bowls and top each with a drizzle of the sage butter and two fried sage leaves.

Variation: Instead of potato, use diced butternut or acorn squash.

Sweet Potato Chowder

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Carla Snyder

By Carla Snyder

Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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