One of my favorite meals year-round is soup. In the San Francisco Bay Area we often experience cool evenings throughout the summer, so even then soups and chowders are perfect to warm up with. This corn chowder recipe is meant for fresh picked summer corn, but don’t let that stop you if you only have frozen sweet corn to work with. Dreaming of warm sunny days, I decided to try and bring summer back and put it in my bowl. With no shortage of cold weather, hearty creamy soups have a place at the table and I couldn’t resist making this. Being it’s also the last days of National Soup Month, I also couldn’t resist sharing.
I often opt for creamy soups sans the cream. More often than not, my taste buds don’t even miss the cream and this chowder is a delicious example of a thick, creamy hearty soup that’s satisfying and delectable. I first stumbled upon Chef Tal Ronnen in an L.A. Times article. Curious about vegan dishes, the phrase: ‘Be a “vegan” who eats bacon‘ stuck with me. A lover of fine cheeses and honey, a daily dose of a latte or cappuccino, a scoop of ice cream or gelato now and then, and the occasional kebab (made only with meat raised with care) not to mention sustainable seafood and fish – the point being, that though a conscious eater I’m not sure I can join the vegan camp, but I can be someone who loves vegan dishes. As the chef put it in Rene Lynch‘s interview: “if you are cutting back on the amount of meat that you eat, you’re still doing something great for your health [and] for the planet…”. Whatever food philosophy you follow, vegan, vegetarian, supporter of Meatless Monday and or a yumivore, consumer of yum, this soup is one to try.
With slight adaptation, recipe from The Conscious Cook:
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Corn Chowder
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups diced onions (the chef suggest Vidalia)
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 red bell pepper cut into ¼-inch dice
5 cups vegetarian stock or faux chicken stock
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tsp chipotle pepper
1 package (roughly 10 oz or more) frozen corn; in season use fresh
1½ cups thick Cashew Cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives or scallions
Makes 6 servings
Place a large stockpot over medium heat and add the olive oil, followed by the onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper. Stir. Add the seasonings: chipotle pepper, a bit of the fresh ground black pepper, a pinch of salt and thyme. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock, potatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, roughly 15 to 20 minutes. To thicken the soup, smash some of the potatoes with a spoon against the side of the pot and stir to together. Add the corn and Cashew Cream, season with the rest of salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve hot. Garnish with chives or scallions.
The Cashew Cream is what makes the soup so creamy and filling; though an added step to make, I’ve used the cream in a few other recipes already (including one I whipped up on my own). I used chipotle pepper in powder form from Penzeys Spices (versus a dried chipotle pepper as noted in the original recipe). Either way, I love chipotle pepper and it adds a smoky flavor to the chowder. If you’re lucky to be near a Lyfe Kitchen restaurant to try the soup, be sure you do. I’m a big fan of Lyfe and have the chowder there often. I look forward to whipping this recipe up many more times in my own kitchen, including with a bounty of fresh summer corn. Hope you’ll join me and try it as well. Hot soup in cold weather, no doubt this corn chowder is a little bit of summer in a bowl.
Learn more about Tal Ronnen
Taste another of Tal Ronnen’s recipes on yumivore: Tropical Tapioca
Follow L.A. Times Food @latimesfood
Read Tal Ronnen says make it vegan but make it delicious
Check out Lyfe
Catch Tal in action making Cream of Asparagus Soup