Chowder, it's A-Changin'

I used to love clam chowder. I grew up in New England, and learned to love the chowder at a young age. I have a strong food memory of the...

I used to love clam chowder. I grew up in New England, and learned to love the chowder at a young age. I have a strong food memory of the best clam chowder I ever had, at a hotel restaurant. I probably loved it because it was mostly cream and butter. I also remember the first time I ordered Manhattan clam chowder, not knowing what that meant, and being supremely disappointed when a bowl of tomato soup with clams was brought out to me. But my chowder horizons were expanded over the years, especially with corn chowder. An old trick in the vegan book is to puree potatoes and stir them into a soup to create a creamy illusion. In this chowder, I pureed half of the pot, full of potatoes, corn, and veggies galore and left half chunky, because really, what's chowder without any chunks of stuff in it?

Chowder, for me, is a summer thing. If it's a creamy luxurious white chowder with soda crackers, it's still a summer thing somehow, but this version is especially so. It is chock full of fresh veggies, so if you're buried in CSA produce, or simply couldn't resist all the pretty new colors in the produce isle of your run-of-the-mill supermarket, then this is in your ballpark. This soup is incredible healthy, and this recipe made 16 servings, at about a cup and a half each. Less than 200 calories, with lots and lots  of good stuff for you too. That's why you shouldn't feel bad about chopping up half an avocado and tossing it onto the top of your bowl as a "garnish."

Corn Chowder take 1
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ears corn, stripped off the cob, save cobs
6 yukon gold potatoes,roughly chopped
2 bell peppers, 1 red 1 orange, diced
1 sweet chile, diced
2 jalapeƱo chiles, diced
2 poblano chiles, diced
5 carrots, diced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 chipotle in adobo
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1 large carrot
1 large onion
1 large parsnip
1 small turnip
1 sprig rosemary, dill, thyme, whathaveyou
6 corn cobs

1 avocado diced, 1 tomato diced, 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, all optional

1. Strip the corn off the cobs ans set aside. In a large stock pot, put the 6 cobs, 1 large onion, roughly chopped with skin on, parsnip, turnip, 1 carrot, all roughly chopped, and herbs. Fill pot up with water and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to simmer, and let it rip for 45 minutes or so.  You can prep your veggies while this corn-stock action takes place. When done, strain the liquid into a bowl and discard boiled veggies and herbs.
2.Preheat your fav soup pot w/lid over med-high heat. Heat the olive oil, and once hot, add onion. Cook until some water has been released and onion is slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, bell peppers, chiles, and mushrooms, garlic and salt. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.Once the veggies are softened and slightly browned, add wine, chipotle, corn and potatoes. Stir everything together and add the garlic powder, paprika and black pepper. Stir again and let cook for one minute. Add the reserved corn stock and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
4.Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup, but only partially. You still want some texture, a whole potato chunk or corn kernal will be nice. Taste chowder for seasonings. Spoon into bowls and top with diced avocado, chopped tomatoes and a sprinkly of cilantro. You're done!


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