This chowder was born out of an abundance of delicious locally grown veggies, bestowed upon us by our friends who have a weekly local CSA share but are out of town this week (getting married!! Congrats Mike and Alana!). It’s loaded with lots and lots of veggies, as well as some quirky last-minute inspired ingredients that turned out to be quite amazing, if we do say so ourselves.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- ~5 cloves garlic
- 1 large onion
- 3 red potatoes (red potatoes hold their shape the best and don’t get too mushy)
- bell peppers and chili peppers (more on this later)
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 1 bag frozen peas
- chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian. we just used what we had on hand)
- cream/milk (we used soy milk. one of us is, sadly, lactose intolerant)
- salt and pepper
- Italian seasoning
- a couple tablespoons corn meal
We started with this amazing assortment of veggies:
Ironically, we didn’t actually use the fresh corn for this recipe. They were just too yummy and we devoured it as corn on the cob.
Also, see those cute little orange and yellow and green peppers? We were all excited for some pretty colors and flavors, only to realize that they are SUPER SPICY. As in, they burned Wen’s fingers when she was chopping them. In fact, her fingertips are still tingling right now, several hours and multiple serious scrubbings later… [Update: still burning the next morning. Fortunately, Wen works in a lab and has access to all sorts of chemicals. After a good soaking in 100% isopropanol, her hands are feeling dehydrated, but are finally free of capsaicin!]
(And while we’re on all these asides, does anyone know how to clean leeks? Do you eat the tough green parts? They’d probably have tasted great in this chowder, had we known how to prepare them.)
Here we go!
As always, chop your veggies first! Tip: the spicier the pepper, the more finely they should be chopped. Wouldn’t want to set an unsuspecting taster’s mouth on fire! (We ended up using only one of the little firecracker peppers.)
Step 1. saute garlic and onion with some olive oil until fragrant.
Step 2. add peppers. (hmmm… why do all our recipes start this way?)
Step 3. add peas and corn. Isn’t it pretty? It’s like a vegetable party!
Step 4. add potatoes. add chicken broth to cover.
Step 5. add cream/milk to desired creaminess. add salt, pepper, italian seasoning and dried thyme (1-2 tsp each).
And this is where Wen had a mini-meltdown in the kitchen and forgot to take pictures of the rest of the process. You see, we tasted it at this point, and it was sweet. Really sweet. Too sweet. And it lacked depth of flavor. What to do??? Fear not, CUMIN TO THE RESCUE. A few teaspoons later, the flavor was more multi-dimensional (seriously, try it! cumin will solve so many of your cooking problems!). But it was still too sweet. This is when we were like, bacon would have been so awesome here. Pioneer Woman, we shouldn’t have doubted you. (This recipe is loosely based off of this Pioneer Woman post, but we had decided to try to load up on veggies and cut down on fat.) And by now, it was 9 pm and we were hungry and nobody wanted to run to the store. So we rummaged through our fridge, attempting to be creative. And what do we find? Capers! Salty AND a vegetable! (Or technically, a flower. Same difference) A few tablespoons of capers later, and a little cornmeal to thicken, VOILA.
And so we present to you: