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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Waste Not Want Not

I throw nothing away.  I know I can always find a use for anything and everything. At this very moment, my freezer is packed with shrimp shells, chicken backs, chicken necks, frozen parsely stems, fish stock, chicken stock, scratch made berbere sauce, squid, and on and on and on. Michael won't allow me the luxury of a big deep freezer because I would fill it to the gills. Point taken.  I'll get along just fine, thank you very much.  Good luck finding the ice cubes.  They might be under the frozen rendered duck fat.

I had a few bites of leftover short ribs from our dinner the other night. We could have enjoyed the fabulous braised short ribs, climbed onto our white horses with full stomachs, ridden off  into the sunset, called it a day, and thrown the short ribs away.  We could have, but didn't. Nope. No siree. There was just enough succulent rib meat to use for something.

 A few months ago, we had the most wonderful fresh tamales at La Azteca's Mexican Restaurant in downtown Louisville prior to one of our Broadway Series shows.  We fell in love the lightness and freshness of those tamales. We haven't had them since that day and I have longed for them.

Hmm. Tamales.

I took stock of the pantry and decided tamales would be the perfect vehicle to transport our leftover meat to another level.  I shaved the meat off the ribs, sliced it into strips, set it to aside,  and scraped the long braised jellied meat juice  from the bottom of the storage container.  Fat = flavor! To change the flavor profile of the meat for the tamales, I sauteed the sliced rib meat in olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, green pepper, cilantro, chile pepper, cumin, and achiote.  I simmered it on low to reduce,  concentrate,  and tighten up.

While the filling simmered away, I prepared the tamale dough by mixing 2 cups of masa flour, 3/4 cups combined vegetable shortening and bacon fat, 1 teaspoon salt, dried mexican oregano, garlic powder, and 2 cups of chicken stock.  To punch up the corn factor, I pureed 2 ears of late season starchy farmers market corn and added it to the masa dough.  After a short wine break, I kneaded the masa until it was the consistency of cookie dough, spread it over pre-soaked corn husks, topped the dough with  glistening rib meat , rolled the husks tightly, tied the ends with strips of husks, and placed them pointed up in a colander inside a covered steaming stock pot  to steam for 2 hours. 

I took leftover pinto beans from the refrigerator, mashed them into a sticky bean pulp and pan fried them in bacon fat before adding garlic, onion, and minced chorizo.  Once the insane re-fried beans concoction was hot and incorporated, I tossed it in the oven to keep warm.  Crazy.

Two leisurely hours later after several glasses of wine, it was time to plate for dinner.

I tossed thinly sliced lettuce with diced tomatoes and  avocados in fresh squeezed lime as a crisp side for a palate cleanser.  After spooning the re-fried chorizo beans onto our plates, I perched the hot tamales atop  the beans, slit open the tamales, and squished them like enormous fluffy baked potatoes.

Steam exploded from the tightly rolled tamales.. Heavenly aromatic steam.  While they were still blazing hot, I drizzled enchilada sauce into the cavities, dolloped Mexicana crema over the tops, and showered them with crumbly cojita cheese.  I let fresh cut cilantro fall where it may from my finger tips.

There was so much going on.  The deep rich meaty filling encased inside the pureed corn-infused steamed masa tamale dough was intense.  Very intense.  The airy highly seasoned masa managed to tame the intensity with subtle softness. Edible beef-filled corn masa  pillows. The enchilada sauce provided spiced wetness while the crumbly cojita cheese exploded like tangy mouth daggers. Think Pop Rocks.  Cheesy tangy Pop Rocks.  Oh. My.

Oh yeah, fresh cilantro added freshness and fresh sqeezed lime juice added brightness.

The chorizo flecked re-fried beans? Unbelievable.  The combination was relentless.

Were our tamales as good as Los Azteca's?  Probably not. But, it was home cooking....and pretty damn stellar.

Waste not want not.
I need a bigger freezer.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Horses, Hot Dogs, & Short Ribs

We spent the entire day this past Saturday at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at The Kentucky Horse Park.  It was stunning.  We arrived through a winding road  amid weeping willows until we reached the lake at the base of the Main Stage Arena.

What a beginning.

We got to the Park at noon with plenty of time to spare before our Reining Event at 2:00 that afternoon.  Our first order of business was to find a bar.  We are usually very good at that.  No bar left unturned is our combined motto.  Not Saturday.  There was so much to see and do.  We thought we would have plenty of time once we found a bar and had a drink or three before moseying around exploring until our event.

There were horses everywhere. Go figure.

We walked through the trade show surrounded by boots, saddles, blankets, belt buckles, and horse paintings in search of a cocktail.  Nope.  Fresh squeezed lemonade was the closest thing.  Onward.  We passed the Makers Mark Cabin and found the official Souvenier compound.  Still no bar.  We decided to back track and start over.  Surely our bearings were off. At that point we were lost and couldn't find a bar. We made a left at the mammoth Alltech Experience Pavillion and walked down a road to nowhere.  We saw tents and people.  Happy People.  We made a bee-line to them.  I spotted tables with drinks scattered about as if people had grown tired of their cocktails and wandered away to play.  My bloody mary radar zoned in on what appeared to be a  beautiful dark red bloody mary.  Bingo!  Not.  It was a glass of red paint left unattended for finger painting in the children's play area.  Damn.

We bought a 25 pound $15 program just for the maps to help us navigate the vastness of WEG.  It was huge. We were running out of the luxury of  time and had to find our venue, the Indoor Arena. We walked and walked and walked. It was very, very far away. West Virginia.  We walked an hour and a half to reach our venue for the Reining event.  Blissfully and thankfully, there were two bars.  Score!

Once the event ended, we went in search of food.  The concessions at the Games turned out to be less than good.  There was a food court offering pasta bowls, burritos, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken.  We had bulbous cold hot dogs on brittle dry buns.  10 packets of ketchup, mustard, and relish couldn't even  revive the long gone juicy moisture of the hot dogs.  We ate them because we were hungry.  It wasn't as if we had $350.00 tickets to The James Beard House Celebrity Dinner Series.

The Opening Ceremonies were divine.  We snuck out during a slow moment to smoke and snack.  They were out of everything.  They had popcorn, but nothing to put it in.  We could see it.  We just couldn't eat it.

The following day I decided to cook a lot of food.  Comforting food that could simmer all day and make the house smell amazing while we recovered  from our 14 hour day at the World Equestrian Games.

No recipes invloved.  I decided to shoot from the hip.

After browning seasoned short ribs until they were intensely dark, I added garlic, celery, carrots, onions, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper to simmer until softened.  I deglazed the pan with aged balsamic vinegar, diced tomatoes, and beef stock. I brought it to a rolling boil, reduced it to a simmer, and place it in a 325 oven to slowly braise for 4 hours.

To gild the lily just a bit, I made fresh bread for sopping. I proofed yeast with 1/4 cup warm water mixed with honey, added 2 cups of flour, kneaded it until it was pliable, rolled it into a ball, plopped it into an oiled bowl, and placed it by the warm oven to double in size.

Once the dough rose, I punched it down, cut it into thirds, hand-rolled the thirds into ropes, and braided it. I covered it to rise again and double in size.

I cranked the oven to 400 and slid the braided loaf into the oven to bake side by side the braising short ribs.

The  combined aromas of fresh baking bread  and long simmering short ribs was intoxicating.

After 45 minutes, I pulled out the bread and buttered the top.  The sweet yeasty bread was comforting.  Buttered and torn, it was the perfect sopper for the deep flavored unctous sticky short ribs. The vegetables disentegrated into the sauce, the garlic roasted into sweet garlic cream, and the short ribs braised down into  utter tenderness. Familiar. Soulful. Finger sucking and lip smacking satisfying.  Fresh celery leaves scattered over the top lent freshness while steamed crisp snow peas topped with lemon zest provided brightness.

The comforts of home.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spaghetti With Tomato & Basil

Our last big tomato haul has been resting on the window sill for a few days.  Every morning I glance at the haul and wonder what I should do with the gorgeous heirlooms.  Salad?  Simply sliced with salt and pepper?  BLT's?

I haven't watched the FoodNetwork much lately since discovering The Food Channel with its gritty and real  cooking format.  The other night, in a mindless stupor, I found myself staring at the television.  The FoodNetwork was airing Alton Brown's new series, America's Best: Comfort Foods.  I thought I'd just stare and deal with some comfort food teasings.  The best mashed potatoes.  Check.  The best mac & cheese. Check.  The best no-nonsense pizza. Check.  It fed my mindless vanquished mind.

Until...The Best Fresh Spaghetti.  Scott Conant's Spaghetti and Basil jarred me to attention.  It is the simple pasta signature dish at Scarpetta, his restaurant in the FountainBleu Hotel in Miami Florida.  It is widely considered to be one of the most delicious simple pasta dishes on the planet.

I had to have it.  I had to taste it. I watched it over and over and over again.  I googled the recipe and found it everywhere.  A written recipe can be found at, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Techniques episode.

It took very few very good ingredients;  fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, pasta, parmesan reggiano, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Period.  That was it.
I bought dried spaghetti. I took one last look at our beautiful heirloom tomatoes bursting with ripeness and tossed the store bought spaghetti.  They deserved better.  The last haul of a long growing season deserved the honor of freshly made pasta.

I can make pasta in my sleep, but wanted  to raise the bar for myself and used Thomas Keller's egg yolk-based pasta recipe from The French Laundry.  I wanted the best for Michael, me, and our lovely heirlooms. I hand-mixed 6 egg yolks, 1 whole egg, 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon milk, and kneaded it gently on a floured surface.  After letting it rest for an hour, I rolled it out, let it dry, and cut it into angel hair pasta strands. It was a good start.  The pasta was a thing of beauty.

I briefly blanched the tomatoes in boiling water to release their skins, cut them into quarters, and sauteed them in olive oil. I followed Scott Conant's masterful method and mashed the tomatoes with a potato masher as they simmered in the olive oil. They cooked briefly for 45 minutes to retain their freshness.

While the tomatoes gently simmered on the stove top, I infused olive oil with fresh basil and garlic. 

Mise en place.

It went really fast.  Once the sauce had simmered into a soft  puddle of fresh  tomato goodness, I ladled it into a saute pan to bubble and dropped the pasta into heavily salted boiling water to cook for 3 minutes.

When the angel hair was al dente, I tossed it into the sauce with the basil oil, jullienned strips of fresh basil, and a large handful of grated parmesan reggiano.  The kicker and final touch?  2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Perfect.  Once the butter swirled throughout the sauce, I plated  the lightly dressed angel hair pasta into large bowls.  I made my father's old fashioned buttered oven toast to sop.

It was the best pasta either of us had ever eaten. Buttery and light as air. The angelic ribbons absorbed the soft fresh tomato sauce just enough to coat it lightly and still taste like pasta.  The knobbed butter finish gave it a velvet mouthfeel and richness while the melted parmesan painted it with salty nuttiness.  Hints of anise flavor and aroma poked through from the tiny specks of basil.

It was simple, fresh, delicious, and utterly beautiful.

An Italian expression that means "little shoe"- or the shape bread takes when used
to soak up a dish- scarpetta represents the pure pleasure of savoring a meal down
to its very last taste.

Point made.  Point taken.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Humble Gardener: Revisited

As fall approaches and summer ends, I have been thinking back on this summer, mid-June, when our gardens were lush, vivid green, and full of hope.  The weather was pleasant and the rains plentiful, producing  tiny yellow flowers on plants that bore promise of what was to come.  The possibilities seemed endless.

I had a wonderful summer as an urban humble gardener, cherishing every bite of our back yard crop..  The cucumbers came in early with their climbing vines twirling up the garage trellis.  We ate them daily while they lasted.

The green bell peppers thrived and the jalapenos kicked butt.  Even through the heat of summer, the basil, thyme, parsley, and lemon balm kept going and growing.  The dill couldn't take it and vanished.

Because  Michael purchased 19 heirloom tomato plants this summer, our tomatoes were plentiful.  They lined the back deck in containers like soldiers on guard.  We tended them carefully and lovingly;  and they responded in bounty.

All summer long, we ate tomatoes every way possible. Every. Way. Possible. We've enjoyed them in some form every night since they started coming in,  just plucked from the vine and still warm from the sun. Eden.  Paradise. Perfect.  They made me think of my father, Marge, Granny, and everyone I ever knew that grew and loved fresh summer tomatoes. We did it. We grew our own . Michael and I tended them, shared them, cooked with them, and fully enjoyed them.  I regret now having grown a bit weary of them. 

This morning I went out to water the ragged tomato jungle.  Even though we've watered them twice daily, they're brown from the relentless intense heat, lack of rain,  covered with fallen pin oak leaves, and sad. It seemed pointless to nourish  the fallen soldiers.  Why? 

Although tattered and ugly they were, and are,  still trying to please Michael and me.  Even though tired and spent, they're producing fruit.  Beautiful glistening jewels dotted through browned crackled leaves.

I watered them this morning without hope,
only to be surprized by their resilience and bravery and filled my T-shirt with gorgeous ripe sun-kissed tomatoes.  My morning haul.

Humbled, indeed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trinidad Stew Chicken with Cornmeal Cou Cou

This is a crazy meal that I adore thinking about, preparing, and eating.  I've had a hankering for it for quite some time.  The deal was sealed after our friends Allan and Alison offered up the fresh okra from their latest CSA delivery and when I recieved my latest e-newsletter from

It's not really a stew. It's borderline insanity.   Hang with me on this one.

I purchased a whole chicken from the market, cut it  up into serving pieces, and set it aside while I prepared the seasoning marinade.  Pre-bottled green seasoning can be purchased, but I opted to make it with fresh ingredients.  After dicing 3 green onions, 4 tablespoons of fresh parsely, 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, 3 thyme stems,  4 roma tomatoes, a vidalia onion, and 1/2 green pepper, I tossed them with 4 cloves grated garlic, a one inch knob grated ginger, 3 tablespoons  worchestershire sauce, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Once incorporated, I added the chicken pieces, covered them with plastic wrap, and refrigerated it all for 24 hours.

I had farmers market baby finglering sweet potatoes and white sweet potatoes hanging around the pantry, so I peeled them and cut them up for the stew.  Traditionally yams, plantains, or cassava would stew with the chicken. I had access to those, but went local.

Cou Cou is the national dish of Barbados and it always eaten with flying fish.  Trinidad has  version of it as well.  Cou cou, similiar to polenta, is a simple and humble side dish made with  cornmeal, butter, water, salt, and okra. I made it first so it could set up.  With apologies to the people of Trinidad and Barbados, I jazzed it up a bit. Using their traditional method, I boiled 1cup of thinly sliced okra in 3 cups of chicken stock  before slowly adding 1 cup of Weisenberger Mills stone ground yellow cornmeal, salt, and pepper. I tossed in a few tablespoons of sliced green onions and a very thinly sliced red pepper from the back garden.  After stirring constantly on low simmer for 45 minutes, I poured it  into a  buttered bowl to set. 

It was time for the fun part. Although simple, complete attention to the method was utterly required. Mise en place was in order with everything at hand.

I heated 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven before adding a combination of white sugar and palm sugar to literally caramelize. 
I contsantly stirred it as it went from raw sugar to blond clumps to liquid sugar to melting caramel. It needed  to go one step further.


Scary. Once it smelled almost like burning marshmellows (uh huh), I carefully added the chicken into the molten mix to cook, color, and caramelize.  After turning the chicken a few times to envelope all sides with the sticky goodness, I added 1 cup of chicken stock to mellow the bubbling madness before dropping the remaining marinade ingredients along with the sweet potatoes into the pot to simmer with the chicken. 

Whew!  It didn't burn.  It easily could have, but didn't. I walked a glorious culinary tight rope with that part of the method and loved it.

I simmered the chicken and vegetables for 30 minutes to cook  until the onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger had completely melted into the sauce, reducing to a mahagony glaze.

I scooped the cornmeal okra cou cou onto our plates and topped it with a  drizzle  olive oil and dusted paprika. ( not traditional).

After spooning the candied chicken over steamed white rice, parsley and lime wedges finished it off.

Surprizingly, it was not overly sweet.  It wasn't pralined chicken, although it appeared so.  The herbs, fresh tomatoes, onions, pungent ginger and garlic coaxed the caramel into a deeply spiced savory sauce. The sticky chicken, with its instantly boiled-sugar-seared  exterior, was moist and tender while the vegetables vanquished into the molten sauce,  releasing their juices to infuse flavor and depth.

The cou cou was a playful side.  Contrary to what most think of okra sliminess, the gifted CSA okra from Allan & Alison were  tiny, fresh, and devoid of the goo.  They were crisp and subtle, complementing the grainy cornmeal cou cou and providing calmess to the crazy chicken stew.

In the wee hours of the morning, I had seconds.  I'm still sticky.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pan Fried Goat Cheese Salad

A light supper.  A simple salad.  Pan fried herb-crusted goat cheese on mixed greens with roasted asparagus, garden tomatoes, nicoise olives, capers, and candied pecans tossed in a dijon vinaigrette with pressed ham and brie ciabatta on the side.
I made a very light vinaigrette with 2 tablespoons  red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup  good olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon  minced shallot, and 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard.  I mixed the vinaigrette in the bottom of a large bowl before tossing in mixed greens, olives, capers, and tomatoes.  I love how the bitterness of raddichio, arugula, and frisee greens paired with the tart vinaigrette and goat cheese.

After tossing fresh asparagus with salt, pepper, and olive oil, I roasted it in a hot 400 degree oven for 10 minutes until it was bright green, tenderly cooked, and al dente.
While the asparagus roasted, I formed goat cheese patties, dredged them in egg wash, dipped them in parslied bread crumbs, and sauteed them until crisp and golden brown.

I split a small ciabatta roll, slathered the outside with butter and filled the inside with Black Forrest Ham and sliced brie before pressing it into a panani on a screaming hot grill pan.
I tossed the salad with the dijon vinaigrette, plated it, topped it with fanned-out roasted asparagus, and placed the sauteed herb-crusted goat cheese discs over the salad with the sliced ham & brie paninis to the side.

A dusting of sea salt and cracked black pepper finished it.

The goat cheese was crisp and golden.  When cut, the inner melted cheese  fell through the salad like dressing coating the greens with creamy sharpness.  Tangy, tart, and refreashing.  The briny black olives, acidic and salty, provided needed depth and punch while the warm crisp asparagus slightly wilted the tender greens beneath  for body and demension. The candied pecans gave a welcome crunch and sweetness.  The warm goat cheese took center stage with its herbed crunchy exterior yielding streams of creamy tartness.   

It was a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Uh. Shrimp & Grits?

I searched the pantry last night for inspiration.  I knew what I wanted to make for dinner and hoped I had the supplies to back it up.

Close, but not quite.  I wanted shrimp and grits.  Was that asking too much?  Who doesn't have a bag of grits tucked away with all the other grains?  Me, apparently.  I had everything else. I rifled through our packed kitchen cabinets in search of something (anything) to stand in for the grits.  Moved, slid, shoved, rearranged. Cabinet Jenga.  Rice?  Maybe. Egg  noodles?  Eh.  Buttered new potatoes?  No.  West African Attieke cassava couscous? What? Don't think so.  Squished in the farthest back corner of the grain cupboard was a huge yellow bag of Rolland medium grain polenta.  Polenta?  Bingo!

The polenta discovery sent my head spinning.  I decided to make traditional shrimp & grits bumped  up with an italian influence.  I added things.

Mise en place was definitely in order.  After the polenta was gingerly coaxed into a creamy cheesy state, the rest of the meal went fast. Really fast.  A one skillet wonder.

I thinly sliced one green bell pepper, a vidallia oinion, and a large clove of garlic.  I plucked 4 very ripe grape tomatoes off the vine and halved them.  After slicing scallions on an extreme diagonal, I traded out cutting boards to cut the meat. At that point, I knew it was not going to be typical shrimp & grits.  I sliced an italian sausage on the bias, cut 8 strips of slab bacon into lardons, peeled and deviened 10 large shrimp, and set everything aside while I enjoyed a few glasses of wine with Michael.

Using a quick, not instant, cooking polenta, I brought 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, added 1 teaspoon of salt, and gently added the polenta.  I stirred the molten cauldron of polenta clockwise (traditional method) constantly to alleviate the plopping popping volcanic bubbles that explode when polenta is left unattended. Trust me on that.  After 20 minutes, it was creamy and soft.

  I added 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 2 chunks of butter,  a handful of fresh chopped parsley, and a cup of nutty grated parmesan reggiano.  I gave it a quick stir to incorporate  and set it aside on a low burner.  A very low burner.

While the polenta warmed, I got a heavy cast iron skillet screaming hot before adding the bacon to cook and crisp up.  Once it was snappingly crisp, I removed the bacon to drain and tossed in the green peppers and onions to saute in the salty bacon fat.

After they softened, I added the garlic and the sliced sausage.  Once the sausage caramelized with curled up edges, I tossed in the shrimp and grape tomatoes. The house smelled amazing.  I let the shrimp cook briefly until bright pink before adding  fresh lemon juice and chicken stock to reduce for a sauce. A few shakes of Old Bay, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley finished it off.

I ladled the herbed polenta into pasta bowls and  topped it with the shrimp, sausage, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  After pouring the pan jus over and around the polenta, I showered everything with sliced scallions and the reserved crisp fried bacon.

Over.The Top.

Let me just say, I love traditional shrimp and grits. This was entirely something else.  It retained the gritty charm of the original southern classic, but had tons of additional flavors and textures.  The spiced sausage provided  hefty bite and substance to contrast the silken briny shrimp.  The soft biting collapsed tomatoes  released their sweet acidity into the sauce while the lemon juice cut through it with clean brightness. Bite after bite, the combination of of shrimp, sausage, and sauteed vegetables completely complimented each other.  All of that salty, sweet, and acidic flavor....on top of  oozing cheesy decedant herbed peasant polenta. 

It was ridiculous.  Utterly insane.  The most important ingredient?  Bacon fat.  Yep. Although I used an italian influence for our shrimp and______,  not one drop of olive oil hit the skillet.  Bacon fat, with its salty goodness,  made it southern comfort  food. 

So, it wasn't exactly shrimp and grits, but it was close and outrageously tasty.

Oh my.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Did You Say White Sweet Potatoes?

I was browsing  the Farmers Market the other morning before work as inspiration for dinner that night.  I picked up  fat Roma green beans, a basket of new potatoes, and Silver Queen corn. As I headed to my car, I stopped by the last vender on the row and spotted what I thought were overgrown fingerling potatoes.  I asked the kind farmer what they were.  "White sweet potatoes", he said.  "White?", I sputtered. "Did you say white sweet potatoes? I've never heard of white sweet potatoes",  I foolishly replied.  He looked at me as if I had three heads.  "They're sweeter and juicier than regular sweet potatoes", he said.  I thought to myself, how could they possibly be sweeter.....and jucier?  Potatoes, juicy?

Of course, I had to have them.

My mind reeled all day as to how I"d  prepare those juicy white sweet potatoes.  The cooler tempertaure of the day tempted me to make a chowder with those white sweets instead of  traditional diced white potatoes.

It was really a non-recipe.  A no brainer.  I had the ingredients.  They simply had to cook themselves.

I fried four strips of thick slab bacon in a dutch oven until very crispy and caramelized, pulled them from the pot to drain, and sliced them into pieces.  After dicing an onion, green pepper, and clove of garlic, I sauteed them in the bacon fat with a sprinkling of salt until softened and translucent.  I tossed in 2 peeled and sliced white sweet potatoes to color in the bacon fat before deglazing with white wine and two cups of chicken stock. When the stock came to a boil, I dropped in fresh thyme sprigs and saffron threads to infuse their flavor while the soup base simmered  for 30 minutes.  The saffron was a lily gilder.  Why not?  I had it.  It spoke to me.
When the stock reduced by half, I removed the spent thyme sprigs and poured in 2 cups of heavy cream.  I simmered the ultra concentrated creamed stock  for 20 minutes until it reduced. Once it was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, I dropped in fresh sliced haddock to poach and cook.

I ladled the haddock chowder into large pasta bowls, added 2 pats of unsalted butter for richness and gloss, the reserved sliced salty bacon, cracked pepper, sea salt, and fresh thyme.  A final dusting of smoked paprika finished it off.

It was incredibly rich.  Even cloaked with velvety stock infused cream, the soft white sweet potatoes gave their distinctive flavor and punch  They were very sweet, light, and juicy. Succlulent and juicy. Yep. The outer layers of the cooked potatoes melted away into the cream,  leaving soft potato pillow bites.  Although the haddock flaked and broke apart, it retained enough texture to counter the buttery spuds. Tiny fresh thyme leaves hinted to freshness with specks of green while crisp fried bacon slices boldly asaulted the creamy chowder with assertive salty crunch.  It was so rich, creamy, sweet, and salty.  Spoonful after spoonful was utter indulgence.
Mr. farmer man was spot on about his prized juicy white sweet potatoes.

Without them it would have been a really good chowder.

With them,  it was  perfect chowder.