19 September 2013

Crockpot Corn Chowder

As I mentioned a week ago, I'm using Tuesdays this semester to attempt new crockpot meals. This week got a little turned around with a dinner for a potential new faculty member on Tuesday night, but Wednesday night was parent-teacher conferences, so Shana stayed and I attempted a new crockpot dinner. I was trying to decide between two different meals in my crockpot book, and although I'm not sure what made me choose this dish, I am very glad that I did!

Perhaps I was predisposed to like this meal because of the ease of crockpot cooking. Perhaps it was just that I was really hungry when I first tried the chowder. But I don't think that I've ever had non-vegan corn chowder, so I might not be a fair judge (though I did share bites of it with two omnivores at school today and they both liked it). In reality, I think the recipe is just a delicious one! Plus, you can make this using fresh from the farm corn in the summer or frozen kernels in the winter. To be honest, I used frozen kernels even though it is summer because it's just easier.

Overall, this soup is full of corn flavor and fresh whole foods. By pureeing some of the cooked veggies and then adding the puree back into the soup, there's a slight bit of weight to each spoonful without an overpowering heaviness. The corn makes it a bit on the "sweet" side (think sweet corn, not cake), but maybe that's normal for corn chowder? Regardless, there is certainly a balance of other savory flavors. If nothing else, the chowder is a lovely shade of yellow!



Crockpot Corn Chowder
This recipe is slightly adapted from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (p. 48).
Ingredients
1 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
3 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 c. veggie broth
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. In a skillet (the night before or morning of), saute onion and celery in oil with the pan covered until soft, or about 5 minutes.
2. Add all ingredients to the crockpot, stir, the cook on low for 6 hours.
3. Remove 2 cups of the veggie chunks (not the broth) and blend until smooth using an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Return puree to the crockpot and stir well.

Helpful Hints
  • I used Better Than Bouillon's Vegetable broth for this, as I was worried that the No Chicken or No Beef would be too overpowering. This broth is NOT soy-free, but if you use one that is, this is a soy-free dinner.
  • To puree the veggies, I used a spoon with pretty big slots to take out veggies and minimal broth. I scooped right into a glass 2 cup measuring cup and then used my immersion blender right in the measuring cup. The veggies are totally soft enough that they don't need any extra liquid. Then, I used a spatula to make sure I got all of the puree back into the chowder.
  • According to the original recipe, you'd need about 6 ears of corn to get 3 cups of kernels. I didn't try, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of that claim. Also according to the original recipe, you can garnish this with fresh chopped tomatoes or fresh chives. I didn't do either of those things (I'd only do the chives anyway), but I found the soup wasn't lacking at all. 

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