Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harvest Vegetable Chowder

Bowl of Veggie Chowder
Instant Love!

Recipe adapted from Healing Foods

Welcome to Fall! Sometimes we need a bit of comfort food to ground ourselves. Perhaps we’ve been betrayed by a trusted friend, perhaps we feel alone in our world, perhaps we’re just stressed and need some nurturing…and perhaps I’m just projecting. Perhaps the change of season has left us a little blue. In any case, comfort food doesn’t really help if it’s filled with unhealthy ingredients. That’s not taking best care of ourselves. So I present a milk-based vegetarian chowder filled with comforting whole ingredients like corn, potatoes, and winter squash. Worked for me, and hope it does for you too.

Assorted Veggie and Herb Chowder Ingredients
Lots of Healthful Ingredients
This is another recipe adapted from Healing Foods by Miriam Polunin. While some nutritional information in this 1999 book is outdated, the recipes I’ve tried have all been excellent. Like me, Ms. Polunin encourages cooking improvisation. She often lists several ingredients and allows the cook to choose among them. For example, she recommends basil, oregano, fennel, dill, and parsley “either singly or mixed” in this recipe. This loose format encouraged me  to substitute thyme and parsley for the herbs, and to make various veggie substitutions. If you’d like to check out her original recipe, her out-of-print cookbook is currently a bargain.

Super-thick Chowder, Before Adding Herbs & Milk
I more or less doubled this recipe, but kept the amount of broth minimal. That way there’s plenty of chunky comfort in each bite, and it looks prettier for my photos. You can add more veggie broth or milk products if you prefer. I used one cup each of 1% milk, 2% milk, and nonfat half and half. You can use these “singly or mixed” in any combination. I wouldn’t hesitate to add another cup of milk next time if I weren’t taking blog photos.

Since I was planning for leftovers, I’ve cooked both the corn and green beans until crisp-tender. You could add them a few minutes earlier if you prefer them more well-done. Here’s wishing you some early fall comfort and joy.

Ladling a Scoop of Chowder from the Pot
Come & Get it
Vegetable Chowder
serves ~10 - 12

1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. butter
¾ finely chopped onions (2 large)
½ cup finely chopped celery
¾ lb. winter squash
½ lb. carrots
1 lb. potatoes, preferably yellow
4 cups veggie broth
2 bay leaves
Different Bowl of Chowder with different color napkin
Another Day, Another Bowlful
1 lb. fresh corn (2 large ears)
¾ lb. green beans
3 – 4 cups milk (see details above)
¼ cup chopped, packed parsley
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

For best results, prepare all veggies first. Finely chop the onions and celery. Peel and dice winter squash into ~3/4 inch chunks, removing any seeds. Scrub and cut potatoes in large dice. Scrub and slice carrots thickly. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Snap ends off green beans and cut or break into 1-inch pieces. Chop and measure the parsley. Remove thyme leaves from stems.

Heat the oil and butter in a deep 8-10 quart soup pot over medium high heat. Stir in onions and lower heat to very low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent.

Add celery, winter squash, carrots, and potatoes to pot. Turn heat to high. When veggies sizzle, lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add veggie broth and bay leaves to pot. Bring to boil. Simmer 7-8 minutes, until potatoes are somewhat tender.

Stir in green beans and continue simmering for 2 minutes. Stir in corn and simmer another 3 minutes, till corn and beans are crisp-tender.

Stir in milk, parsley and thyme. Heat through, but do not boil. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. 

1 comment:

  1. Another really good soup! I'm in danger of changing from someone who is indifferent about soups to someone who really likes them. What am I gonna do? ;-)