Friday, June 8, 2007

Chowdah!

I love chowder. I don’t think I’ve ever met a chowder I didn’t at least want to try. I’ve had a couple of bad bowls, here and there (mostly from cans) but on the whole, my chowder experiences have been positive. Clam, mussel, fish, corn, crab – I’ve tried them all and loved them. Chowder, of course, is a thick, milk-based soup containing a variety of ingredients, often fish or seafood, usually potatoes, and sometimes other veggies and herbs. Sounds awesome, right?

I tried out a recipe for a slightly unusual chowder the other night, and it turned out very nicely (though I’ve just eaten a rather large amount of it and, thus, don’t really want to see it again for at least half a day) so I thought I would share the recipe. It comes, originally, from the Moosewood Cookbook. I picked it up from an adaptation posted on 3WA a year or so ago, and modified it a little bit more to suit our taste buds and preferences. I did, however, follow the cooking method closely, and it worked a treat. Here’s my version:

Santa Fe chowder, Ottawa-style

1 cup chopped sweet onions
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
4 cups chicken broth (1 box Campbell's)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup diced zucchini
4 ounces light cream cheese (I used the spreadable kind)
1/2 cup grated sharp light Cheddar cheese
1 cup 1% milk
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

In a large soup pot, combine onions, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, and oil and saute for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. I added a little chicken broth after five minutes to keep the onions and spices from scorching.

Add carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, corn, and zucchini. Cover and cook on medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Ladle 3 cups of vegetables from the soup into a blender, add the cream cheese, cheddar and milk, and puree until smooth. Stir the puree back into the soup. Add black beans and heat through.

This soup is so incredibly hearty, and smells so amazing. It uses every vegetable known to man, making it super-healthy. It’s pretty and colourful to look at. It makes a ton, so you can feed a crowd. And it reheats nicely, if you do it gently, so you can make it ahead of time if you need dinner in a hurry.

Just don’t do what I did, and enjoy too much of it at once. Remember, veggies expand in your stomach. Ooooof.

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