“Wait so, what is the base?” My husband was gazing with skepticism at the pile of vegetables I had promised would soon become corn chowder.
“Corn,” I answered.
I continued dicing avocado.
“It’s almost ready,” I said. That’s his queue to make sure the table’s set.
“Wait. How?” He looked at the pile of ingredients in front of me. I could tell he was wondering how a soup could be ready when the half the ingredients were still on the counter.
“It’s going to come together fast,” I said, “don’t worry!”
When we sat down to eat, the interrogation continued.
“This is beautiful!” he said, “But it doesn’t look like chowder.”
Then he took a bite.
“This is so fresh! How is this chowder?”
“Ha! What if we change the name to Fresh Summer Corn Chowder?”
“Yeah, that’s probably better.”
And that’s how this super fresh corn chowder got its name.
I get it. When people say “chowder,” they usually mean chowdah, the creamy stuff with clams floating in it and a slick of briney oil on the surface…the kind of chowdah that you can get in Boston. And when people say “corn chowder,” they usually mean a corny, creamier version of chowdah, without the seafood.
Instead of relying on cashew or another thickener to imitate cream, this vegan chowder uses the starchiness of the corn itself. When you purée fresh, sweet corn, it creates a thick, starchy, almost buttery liquid that tastes like pure gold. And to top it off, it makes the chowder luscious and satisfying without weighing down all the fresh ingredients.
I was so proud when I put this chowder on the table that everything in it is a vegetable!
- 1 cup potatoes, diced (1 large or 3 small)
- ½ cup red onion, finely diced (½ small)
- ¾ cup carrots, sliced in small coins (2 medium/large)
- 3 cups fresh corn (about 5 ears)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 dried chili pepper, or a pinch of chili flakes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Optional toppings: fresh chopped spinach, fresh cilantro or parsley, fresh sliced peppers, diced avocado
- In a heavy-bottomed 2 quart pot, heat a few tablespoons of the vegetable broth until simmering. Add garlic and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. (If the broth evaporates, add more a little at a time.)
- Add the potatoes, paprika, cumin, and chili pepper, and all of the broth. Put on a lid and bring to a simmer. After 5 minutes, add the carrots, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, purée 1 cup of the fresh corn.
- Back in the pot, test the potatoes and carrots to make sure they’re tender. (If not, cook a little longer.)
- Add the corn and corn purée and stir until combined, then return to a simmer. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve.
- Optional: garnish with toppings
The Waco Vegan is no longer updated. You can find me over at RandleBrowning.com instead.