SMOKED SALMON AND SWEET POTATO CHOWDER WITH ASIAN TWISTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped (about 2 cups)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup ginger root, peeled and minced
5-ounces pancetta, chopped
5-ounces shitake mushrooms, caps sliced and stems discarded
1 tablespoon turmeric root, peeled and grated on a microplane (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 ½” dice (about 1 large sweet potato)
3 cups seafood or lobster stock
1 ½ cups corn (preferably fresh and cut off the cob or frozen will also work)
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons wasabi sauce
2 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-pound smoked salmon, broken into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a 6-8 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and ginger root to the pan and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pancetta and continue cooking until the fat is rendered and the pancetta begins to brown.
Add the mushrooms, turmeric, red pepper, and sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes until everything is well coated and the veggies begin to soften. Add the stock and corn to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover the pot. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Add the soy, fish sauce, wasabi, heavy cream, maple syrup, and smoked salmon. Bring back to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to low and let the chowder lightly boil for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to meld and the soup to slightly thicken.
Serve hot in bowls garnished with chopped parsley and crusty bread on the side.