I was thumbing through my cookbooks this weekend trying to come up with meal ideas for the week. I came across a recipe for Roasted Corn Chowder in Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson that I thought sounded good with all the nice fresh local corn we've been getting lately. I've had Vegan Planet for a while now, and I don't recall ever making anything from it. I'm surprised by that too because I have a few other of Robertson's cookbooks that I use all the time. I think when it came down to it I realized that the typeface in Vegan Planet bugged me and I don't find it very readable. I'm glad I suffered through it though because the chowder was delicious! I felt a little silly cooking soup on a late July night, but when else are you going to have beautiful fresh corn? I topped the soup with homemade croûtons and some basil chiffonade (as the recipe recommended) and it was just perfect. Not too heavy for a summer night with the sweet corn flavor dominating. The only major change I made was that I used a shallot instead of a small onion because I had a shallot and they don't bother my belly as much as onions do!
Roasted Corn Chowder
4 ears of corn
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
3 small yukon gold potatoes, diced
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth
1 cup plain rice milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Basil chiffonade for garnish (just those little basil strips as seen in the picture)
1. Peel back the corn husks and remove the silks, then close up the corn again. Place the cleaned ears corn on a baking sheet and bake in a 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Once they're done and cooled, cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife. The "bowl in bowl" technique is good for this to keep the corn stable and to keep the kernels from going all over the place. Basically, you take a small bowl with a rim and put it upside down in a larger bowl. Use the small bowl to stabilize the corn and carefully cut the kernels off the cob. I thought an illustration might help:
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the shallot and celery rib. Keep the heat medium low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until tender.
3. Add the potatoes and vegetable broth and cook for 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
4. Add the corn to the soup and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
5. Put 2 cups of soup in the blender and blend until smooth. ** Hot soup in a blender will build up steam quickly and the top will explode off ** To avoid this, open the part of the blender lid that opens or comes off so you can pour in ingredients and replace it with a folded dish towel. This will allow steam to escape and not soup. **
6. Pour the blended soup back into the rest of the soup along with 1 cup of rice milk. Stir. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
7. Serve with croûtons and top with fresh basil as desired.
Basic Guidelines for Croûtons
1. Cube however much bread you want for croûtons. I did 2 slices of multigrain, one slice of whole wheat, and a homemade pumpernickel roll. Crusty stale bread is best.
2. Spray down a baking sheet with olive oil. Put the bread cubes on the baking sheet, then spray them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasoning you like (tonight was basil), toss, and then spray again with olive oil.
3. Bake in a 400 degree oven until sufficiently toasty and crunchy -- about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
How to Keep Your Cat from Getting Underfoot While You Cook
I can't explain it. My cat Atticus loves to lick corn cobs. He doesn't eat any kernels he pulls off, but he likes to bite and lick at the cob. PLEASE do not leave your cat unattended with a corn cob because my cat is a goofball. And DOUBLE PLEASE don't ever give your dog corn on the cob because it can cause an obstruction and make your dog very very sick. Public service announcement over. You can now continue enjoying the picture of Atticus enjoying a corn cob.