Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vegetable Corn Chowder

Dear foodies,

After enjoying a pleasant 'coldest' day ever in India at about 18.3C, I got back to a -25C weather here. Which is still not the coldest day ever this season, it was -32C the day I was leaving! It has been snowing every day since and the snow is piling on n on n on. We had 12 inches of snow in the last 24hrs. A -5C or 0C feels warm these days. If nothing else, living in this place is surely giving me a thick skin!

My sleep routine settled in perfectly despite the change in time zones, but its my cooking that suffered a jet lag. I got back on a Monday night and the next day I made aloo parathas and tomato-onion fry for dinner! I haven't made paratha's in ages...I've wanted too, but was always too lazy. And there I was in the kitchen making fresh parathas, and a side dish too! My brother was shocked when I told him that, he was buying sandwiches and hadn't even stocked his kitchen yet. It had to be a jetlag of sorts :) And oh, if you are wondering why I did not unpack instead, you see my luggage never travels with me, it has its own itinerary. It took almost 3 days for me to get them, but I am glad they made it to me unlike the last time, huh! So well, after that first few days of passionate cooking, the routine kicked in and I've totally lost my appetite. I still crave the food my mom made..., I wish I could be on vacation at home for ever :P

So with the dreary weather outside, and a craving for warm food, combined with immense laziness, soups have been the perfect only solution. I think I've repeated this a million times, but I like the soups in Panera bread, and one of my favorites is their summer corn chowder, and well, its offered only in the summer! I had that more than a couple of times, but with a pinch of guilt. I knew it was loaded with butter and heavy cream :( As I was flipping through the recipes in my soup cookbooks the other night, I found a recipe for vegetable chowder, yayy! I had all the ingredients, so why not make some at home then. So here it is, summer corn chowder to drive out the winter night blues ...
Vegetable Corn Chowder
Ingredients:
  • 11/2 cups - Sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup - Potatoes, scrubbed well & cubed
  • 1/2 cup - Carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 cup - Onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup -Bell pepper, diced (red, green or yellow)
  • 8-10 - Broccoli florets (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp - Garlic, minced
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 11/2 Tbsp - All purpose flour
  • 2 cups - Milk, I used reduced fat.
  • 1 cup - Vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 Tbsp each - Butter & olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Method:
  1. Heat olive oil/butter in a deep sauce pan. Add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, carrots, bell pepper and cubed potatoes. Cook on medium heat and allow the vegetables to soften a bit, ~4-5mins.
  2. Warm the milk in another pan or in the microwave. Sprinkle the flour evenly on the vegetables and stir, I used a tea filter to dust the flour. Stir well for 1-2 mins to cook away the rawness in the flour.
  3. Gradually add the milk & stock to the vegetables, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Add the corn (and broccoli). Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20mins or until the vegetables are tender. If you think its too thick, add some warm milk or stock.
  4. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir-in some cheese at this point, if using. Serve warm with a light garnish of cilantro or parsley and some cracked pepper on top.

And thats' comfort served in a bowl, ready for you to wrap your hands around and sink into that couch. This felt like a rich and creamy indulgence with soft potatoes that melt in your mouth and the juicy sweet corn dotting it. I retained the skin on the potatoes since I like them that way. I was also using baby fingerling potatoes which are really easy to clean. The only heat in the soup is from the black pepper, all the rest just add up to the creamy goodness. I found the flour to do a really good job with thickening the soup and making it creamy. Using reduced fat milk did not hurt the consistency much. May be if I used whole milk or cream it would have been much more richer, but I surely did not miss it a bit with this recipe; reduced fat works just fine. So go ahead, make yourself a huge pot of it and disappear into your couch :) Here are more options!

19 thoughts:

Nags said...

that looks absolutely yummy! the only thing that makes me lazy to prepare soups at home is veg stock. too tiresome to make at home and too much sodium in the store bought ones. what do you use?

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

looks great... am gonna try this. u have nice recipe collection. i adore your pics.

veggie belly said...

-32c?!?! do you live in alaska ?! ;) we just got the seasons first snow and im already complaining! your corn chowder sounds perfect for when its cold! I like the panera bread soups too, but dont get them because all except one have chicken stock :(

Indhu said...

yummmy soup... I have the same problem as Nags... too lazy to prepare the stock at home and do not want to buy from the store...
loved your pal payasam :)

sowmya said...

looks so delicious..and healthy too..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the lovely recipie, but its not mentioned when to add the corn? Could you please be so kind to let me know `coz I`m looking forward to making this one !

sunita said...

Yummy! Laziness, cold or whatever, I can have that anytime...gorgeous :-)

Priya said...


Nags, I used a store bought low sodium stock this time. But in most of my other soups I don't use stock or skip it even if a recipe calls for it. If the recipe permits, you can bump up the veggie content/spices/herbs and you won't miss much.

Mahima, thank you, I hope you enjoy the soup as much as I did.

Sala,OH is worse enough for me! We had 12inches of snow here, y'day. Yup, Panera offers just one veggie soup at any given time, sigh...

Indhu, substitute the stock with water and just add more seasoning or veggies, it should still taste great :)

Sowmya, yes, it makes youforget its a bowlful of veggies :))

Anon, ooops! I am so sorry for dropping that out. Edited the recipe now. Add the corn after the milk & stock are added and cook it along with the rest of the veggies. Thank you! do let me know if you make it :)

Sunita, yup, a good soup is too hard to resist. thank you :-)

pedatha.com said...

Hi Priya, enjoyed reading the post. Disappear into the couch ...he he. The corn in the soup looks so tempting...very nice pic too. Cheers.

Alka said...

wht a co incidence...my Hubby who is in cincinnati rt now,got loads of corn cobs and was wondering wht to make with it,coz outside it was snowy enough to keep him indoors and compel him to cook rather than get some takeaway etc.So i searched and searched some simple corn recipes,which he can cook with the minimum of APPARATUS(utensils)and ingredients.I guess now he can carry it bit forward and try this one to utilize all the corn ;-)

anudivya said...

Absolutely divine! And where are those parathas? ;)

Viju said...

....it was not the coldest day in India re... only Chennai...

Soma said...

Perfect soup for this weather Priya...I thought I would see the parathas too:-)

Adlak's tiny world said...

very nicely presented priya...blog of good looking and beautiful collections.

sriharivatsan said...

Hi, first time here, your pictures are drooling..Wonderful collections..This corn chowder looks absolutely gorgeous..

Namratha said...

Chowder is definitely comforting, and love that bowl of it, looks very inviting! :)

Sonia said...

I made this! :o) It turned out reaaaally yummy! Thanks a LOT for the recipe. It's a simple recipe to follow for a person like me who doesn't like very complicated dishes. I don't like to spend too much time in the kitchen and this turned out beautifully! :D

Priya said...

Sonia, I am glad you enjoyed this soup and thank you so much for coming back with the feedback too :) Keep visiting!

Gabe said...

So Great! Gabe here from Los Angeles, California. Just made it for lunch. Please don't skip the Broccoli. It added an extra dimension to the soup. I definitely thinned it out a bit with more vegetable stock but that was for no other reason than to make it last longer. Thank you so much Priya. Much appreciated as all your recipes are. Sincerely, Gabe

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