Last weekend I traveled to Michigan to visit some dear friends. My life has been a whirlwind ever since, so I’m glad to finally be able to relax and have time to post (and cook!). I put together a little collage to share some of the highlights of my trip.
We were the elements for Halloween – earth, fire, wind, and water – and went out to eat looking all glamorous and sparkly. I’m still finding glitter on my face a week later. My flight was out of Chicago the next day, and before I left we ate in the city at our favorite place in the world, Friends Sushi. They have the best vegetarian sushi on the planet. It was a marvelous weekend, but it’s nice to be back; there’s nothing quite so comfortable as coming home and sleeping in one’s own bed, except for maybe a bowl of hot soup.
I grew up in New England, chowder capital of the world – namely, clam. My family didn’t eat clams, but my mom made a mean corn or fish chowder. Chowder nights were an exciting event, and I remember many exclamations of “Mom’s making corn chowder for dinner!”
I’ve shared my enthusiasm about soup season before. Once the air has even the slightest hint of a chill to it, I’m ready for soup of every kind, every day of the week! However, at least in my biased, Massachusetts opinion, no soup will ever be as comforting and delicious as corn chowder. Chowder wears the crown.
So here’s my own personal recipe for thick, creamy potato corn chowder, no heavy cream or butter required.
Potato Corn Chowder
Makes approximately 8 servings
8 cups vegetable stock
3 lbs red potatoes, washed and chopped
1 large white or yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 t olive oil (to saute onions)
2 cups corn (or 2 small cans)
1 cup Silk creamer, unsweetened
1 – 2 T Smart Balance Lite (optional, for buttery flavor)
Dried herbs (optional: parsley, oregano, basil, bay leaves)
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped basil, for garnish
Step 1: Bring vegetable stock to a simmer in a large pot. At the same time, saute the diced onion and crushed garlic in olive oil in a pan over medium low heat.
Step 2: While your broth simmers and your onions saute, chop your potatoes into bite-size pieces. I realize it sounds like I’m asking you to be a crazy multi-tasker here, but I promise it’s not as stressful as it sounds.
Step 3: When the onions are clear and tender, add them to the broth. Stir in optional dried herbs and butter substitute. You don’t have to be precise – I added a few generous shakes of the herbs listed above, but you can add more or less or omit entirely depending what you like. Add the potatoes, and let simmer until soft.
Step 4: Strain out 2 – 3 cups of softened potatoes into the blender (or fill the blender until it’s about 2/3 full). Pour the silk creamer on top of the potatoes in the blender and blend thoroughly until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little broth so it will blend more easily. It should be very thick and creamy (and hot, so be careful!). Pour the blender contents back into the soup.
Step 5: Add the corn and fresh herbs. Fresh parsley and basil play a huge role in the flavor of this chowder. While you can use dried substitutes, the results will not be nearly as satisfying. Use the fresh stuff – corn chowder deserves the best! 🙂
Step 6: Finally, bring to a very light simmer while stirring and at the first sign of a tiny bubble, turn off the burner. Add salt and pepper to taste until your tastebuds dance with delight. Garnish with more fresh herbs and green onions and serve!
Aah, there’s nothing like a belly full of hot chowder on a cold November evening!
~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl