I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chowdah


There was a fleeting brush with reasonable weather last week that I thought was supposed to last more than a day or two, but as is usual in this area, if you count on anything related to the weather, you are a silly fool. Temps are hovering around freezing, not unusual for much of the country in January, but still not welcome here.

Plus, given the weird sinus infection that popped up this past couple of weeks (it felt like my teeth were going to explode) and now has me on an antibiotic , I'm not drinking any wine so as not to mess up the effectiveness of the drug. So let me tell you buddy, this weather had REALLY bad timing.

Good excuse to make chowdah. This one is not the prettiest face in the crowd, sorry- it looks a little dingy, and frankly, kinda green. The finished product would have been much more attractive, I think, if the mushrooms were sauteed separately, and then added after the puree step, but the results would still be yum no matter how you smashed em'. Potatoes and corn and mushrooms and onions and carrots and garlic. How could you possibly go wrong? Absolutely delish.

I tried this initially without adding flour for thickening, thinking that the partial pureeing would thicken things up nicely, but it didn't work. I know you're supposed to mix thickening agents with cold water, but just removing some of the hot liquid from the soup and blending with the flour worked fine (wouldn't work with cornstarch though, if that is your thickener of choice- use cold liquids only).

I didn't use veggie sausage this time, but if you want an even more substantial bowl, brown up a little bit and add right before serving.

Potato, Mushroom, and Corn Chowder

2 Tbs. Earth Balance butter or oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups peeled, diced boiling potato such as Yukon Gold (~2 medium)
1½ cups corn kernels
4 cups vegan chicken-style broth
2 Tbs. vegan bacon-style bits (optional)
½ tsp. poultry seasoning

2 Tbs. flour

2 Tbs. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. salt, to taste
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional: 4 oz. sliced veggie sausage

Heat butter or oil in a large pot and cook onion through garlic until just tender.

Stir in potato through poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Scoop about a quarter cup of soup broth into a small bowl, add the flour, stir until it is very well blended, and return to the pot.

Add nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove a cup or so of chowder, puree in a blender, and return to the pot (or just run an immersion blender around the pot a bit). Stir well, cooking for a few minutes to thicken, and serve.

Variation: Brown 4 oz. sliced veggie sausage over medium heat, and stir into chowder right before serving.

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