A shameless spinoff of the Cautious Vegetarian's Spicy Smoky Sweet Potato Corn Chowder, this take turns the original recipe into a yam puree and moderates the heat of the chipotle pepper by using a half cup of whole milk instead of a blanching process. The sprinkled walnuts on top are a real treat, as they blend into the soup and you crunch into them, then stick around with a wonderful pop at the end. —Samuel_Rivers
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or other large stew pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and celery and sauté until both are translucent. 5 min
Clear a small area in the center of the pot and add the cumin, chipotle peppers, and garlic. Saute until fragrant. 30 seconds
Add the sweet potatoes and vegetable stock; cover and bring to a simmer; then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork. 10-15 min. (If wondering, err a little on the side of over-doing it, they're supposed to be a little mushy)
Meanwhile, cut the kernels off of 3/4 of each ear of corn. I like to microwave them slightly, lop the bottom off of them, stand them up, and cut down, a la Food52 recommendation. Grate the kernels from the other 1/4 of the ear. Transfer to a bowl.
Cutting Corn Recommendation: https://food52.com/blog/10303-how-to-remove-the-silk-from-an-ear-of-corn
Grating Corn: https://food52.com/blog/4424-kevin-gillespie-s-creamless-creamed-corn
When the sweet potatoes are done, puree the soup in batches in a blender (not a food processor -- that gets messy). Transfer soup to a separate saucepan on the stove as you blend (it should not be heated), then return it to your original pan once the entirety is finished. Uncovered, bring the soup to a low simmer over medium heat until the corn is al dente (firm to the bite and a bit juicy, but not mushy or like you are eating a raw, tough, unpleasant corn kernel). 10 - 15 min
Meanwhile, add the half cup of milk to the now empty saucepan that held your soup puree. Heat milk on the lowest of low.
Take the soup off the heat and add milk. Taste, then salt, pepper, and potentially sugar until it's just right (I used a 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt, a bit of ground pepper, and a pinch of sugar). You may also add chipotle pepper sauce (the juice in the chipotle pepper can) if you so desire. Mix well.
Let the soup rest for 5 min, then serve. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of crushed walnuts, and keep the rest on hand to add to the soup as you go. Do not add them all at once to the soup, as it ruins their freshness.
*You may also choose to sautee the walnuts before adding them to the soup, which I think would work well but have not yet tried. Other interesting toppings would be a bit of fresh parsley, simple ground black pepper, or a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I will try this a few more times, then update.