Some people are soup crazy. It could account for two thirds of what they eat in a day. I was never one of those. In our family, us girls are called ‘the solid sort’ (well-rounded around the edges if you know what I mean), and solid girls need solid fare – roast chickens, mashed-potatoes, sautéed veggies, curries and rice. I was just never one to fill myself on aromatized water with bits floating around.
That was until I moved to the USA and made my acquaintance with The Chowder. It was a soup made for people like me who are looking for mouth-feel, something to chew in to and a soup that can actually take-on a hungry appetite.
This week, I made a corn chowder using fresh corn. To give it depth in flavor, there is cumin which gets an added boost from the rehydrated chipotle pepper. But to give it depth in texture (a simple step that often gets skipped), reserve a couple of tablespoons of corn of soup to use as a soup topping along with the shrimp before serving. Such layering of ingredients make the soup look-like a pop-up card and not just a flat muggy river.
- 2 celery sticks, sliced in to ½ cm thick pieces
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
- 2 cartons of chicken stock
- 3 cobs of corn with kernels removed (reserving both)
- 1 dried chipotle pepper (soak in water to hydrate for 10 minutes)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TBSP. plain flour mixed with ¼ cup water
- ½ a cup of shrimps
- 1 level tsp. cumin powder
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup of sour cream
1) Sweat the celery, shallots and garlic until soft. Season with salt and pepper and cumin powder
2) Squeeze the excess water out of the chipotle pepper, chop up in to small pieces. Add the chipotle and butternut squash to the pan. Add the stock, along with the cobs (a lot of flavor and goodness) and simmer for 10 minutes until the butternut squash has softened
3) In a separate pan, lightly blacken the corn kernels with small oil
4) Add the corn kernels (reserving a couple of tbsp.) and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove the cobs. Pour in the flour mixture in a steam stream and allow the soup to get a little thicker. Blend half the soup.
5) Soup topping: Saute corn and shrimp in salt and cayenne. Pile a small heal in the center of each bowl. Serve with a teaspoon of sour cream
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes
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