The Shakers prepared chowders as a creative way to use what was fresh and on hand. This basic recipe comes from Jeff Paige, the former chef at New Hampshire’s Canterbury Shaker Village. “This is the method of preparation I use to create a number of wonderful corn-based chowders. By simply adding one or two new ingredients, like the sweet potatoes, you create a new and exciting twist on an old favorite. Sweet Potato Corn Chowder is without a doubt our most popular chowder. I’ve received requests from as far away as London for the recipe.” (From The Shaker Kitchen, by Jeffrey Paige. Copyright ©1994 Jeffrey Paige. Published by Clarkson N. Potter Inc.)
In a large soup pot, fry the bacon over medium heat just until it starts to crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, quarter and slice the red potatoes by hand or in a food processor, about ¼-inch thick. Add the onions and bay leaves to the bacon, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully drain off half of the bacon grease and discard.
Add the sweet and red potatoes to the soup pot, add enough stock to cover the potatoes, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the brown sugar, corn, parsley, scallions, and cream, and cook until heated through, stirring often.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.