Monday, November 26, 2012

Corn Chowder

The day after Thanksgiving, my teenage daughter tells me she’s thinking of becoming a vegetarian. “When I eat meat, it makes me feel bad.” 

“Physically?” I ask.

“No, I just feel bad killing animals.” “Would it be difficult for you if I become vegetarian?”

This morning, as I packed her a lunch of red pepper hummus, pita bread, carrots, broccoli, and apple slices, I contemplated the challenges as well as her question. Difficult? Hmmm... let me get back to you on that one. 

Fall and winter months are my favorite cooking months. The smell of homemade soups and stews wafting through the house is one of the things that gives me pleasure, and makes the cold weather tolerable. 

I made a vegetarian chowder yesterday and, because it was a huge hit, I want to share it with you. It’s a corn chowder, but unlike most, cellulite is not the main ingredient... it’s actually a lower fat, lighter version. This was tucked away in the dark depths of my recipe files, and I’m so glad to have rediscovered it.


Corn Chowder
(recipe slightly modified from Cooking Light Magazine)

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Medium sweet onions, diced
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon sweet paprika
4 Cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 Celery rib, thinly sliced
1 Bay leaf
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Cups frozen corn kernels
5 Scallions, thinly sliced
1 Cup milk (or half and half if you want it richer)
1/4 Teaspoon dried thyme
A few dashes of cayenne pepper
Sour cream

1. In a large stockpot, combine the butter, olive oil, onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the onions are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle with the paprika, stir, and cook for a minute.

2. Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, celery, bay leaf, salt, sugar and pepper. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the corn and scallions and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Scoop out 2 cups of the chowder and set it aside. Puree the remainder (if you have an immersion blender, it comes in handy since you can puree directly in the pot of soup) and return it to the pot. Stir in the reserved chowder, milk, thyme and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot with a spoonful of sour cream on top.

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