As you can imagine, the spirits of Cardinals fans are about sunny as the weather here in St. Louis – after two tough losses in the World Series, the mood here is decidedly glum. And the weather today seems to be taking it’s cues from the fans – overcast, cold and on the verge of rain. According to ESPN, the threat of rain may be enough to postpone tonight’s game until tomorrow, giving the Cards another day to get themselves together. My advice on how to get back in the spirit? I’d spend the day on the couch watching trash tv and eating comfort food like this delicious corn chowder.
Corn chowder is something that is best made with fresh corn, however, the miracle of frozen corn makes this dish possible year-round, even on a cold and cloudy fall day. It is incredibly easy to make, it’s vegetarian so therefore a good option if you need to feed some non-meat-eaters, and despite the fact that it has zero bacon fat, it is still delicious. Serve it with some crusty bread or toast for a light main course.
Vegetarian Corn Chowder
Based on the recipe found in The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest
1 medium sized potato, diced
2 1/2 cups of water
1 tb butter or oil
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 cups of fresh corn or 1lb frozen
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 cup milk (high test is best but lowfat is ok too)
Black pepper to taste
Bring the potatoes and water to boil in a small saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (but not mushy). In a dutch oven or soup pan, melt the butter or oil over medium heat, then add the onion and salt. Sautee for five minutes, then add the celery and cook for another five minutes. Add the potatoes with cooking water, pepper, corn, thyme, and basil to cook until the corn is heated through (keep temperature at medium). Using a stick blender, puree about half of soup. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring frequently until heated – do not boil. Serve with fresh black pepper to taste.
Note: From a visual standpoint I like my potatoes and bell pepper diced to about the same size as the corn. This also helps with cooking times. If you prefer larger pieces of the vegetables, go for it.
On Vegetarian Cooking
I found this corn chowder recipe in The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest (Mollie Katzen’s Classic Cooking) which I picked up when I first started dating Dr. Fiance (since she was a vegetarian) and it’s better than most vegetarian cookbooks. I have since broken Dr. Fiance
out of the cult of her bad vegetarian habits (nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing her enjoy a nice bloody steak and a martini) but we still eat vegetarian quite a bit. One thing about vegetarian cookbooks that drives me up a wall: why do many authors insist that vegetarian cooking be so damn healthy? Is it because vegetarians are simply more health conscious? And the crazy ingredients? This dish manages to be healthy without 35 different ingredients only available from a specialty shop.
Also, I hate it when vegetarian cookbooks attempt to replace meat with meat-like substances. Don’t give me seitan and call it bacon, that’s all I’m saying. Dishes like this chowder taste just as complex and interesting as their meat counterpoints without having to resort to veggie-gimicks and such. Simple, tasty food using good ingredients that I would eat anyway. So there.