Creamy Vegetarian Corn Chowder

This soup is my go-to if I’m feeling under the weather, or if I’m just craving comfort food. I never use an exact recipe and just use what I have on hand, which makes for a quick preparation. The general recipe I base the broth on is one I’ve come to find makes the richest, silkiest product, and all of the vegetables (aside from the corn, of course…it is a corn chowder, after all) are simply suggestions. Feel free to substitute any vegetables listed for any you may have on hand.

Creamy Vegetarian Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 full-sized carrots (depending on size), peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, washed and diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 carton vegetable stock, or powdered vegetable base prepared in to 16 ounces of stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • cayenne pepper to taste (omit if you don’t want spicy soup! I usually use about 1/8 of a teaspoon)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • fresh chives for garnish
  • oyster crackers for garnish

Begin by sweating down the onions, celery, and carrots over medium to medium-low heat with garlic until the onions are translucent. Hit the onion mixture with the stock and the potatoes, and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender.

While the vegetables simmer, whisk together the milk or cream and the flour (I prefer cream…I mean, who doesn’t? It makes an extremely rich broth compared to milk alone). I never have an exact measurement of how much milk and how much flour, but the mixture should be relatively thick but still liquid enough to pour. This will be the thickening agent for the chowder.

Once the potatoes are tender, add in the frozen peas, corn, bell pepper, thyme, basil, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Be sure to taste your soup prior to salting because most pre-made stocks are very high in sodium. I usually only add a dash at the very end if it needs it. Let it come back to a low boil and then slowly add the cream-flour mixture while stirring the soup continuously. The key here is to not add the cream to the soup too quickly, or it might curdle because of the heat. You may not need all of the cream mixture – add about half of the mixture first and see how thick your chowder is first. If you want it thicker than that, continue to add the rest. Some days I want a very thick chowder, and other days I feel like a more thin broth, so it just depends on how you like your soup.

Let the soup simmer until it thickens, at least 15 minutes, and then garnish with oyster crackers and fresh chives (or your favorite soup accompaniment). This chowder also pairs well with a grilled cheese – of course!

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