I don’t know where I got the idea to make chowder, but I’ve always wanted to try it and never had. Since becoming dairy free I rarely order soups out and only eat creamy ones at home. I wasn’t sure what makes a chowder different to a soup so I did some research and it has quite an interesting history.
Chowder is a seafood or vegetable stew or thick soup. It is usually is made creamy but adding milk or cream and is eaten with or thickened with broken up saltine crackers. Famous chowders you may of heard of are the New England clam Chowder and Manhattan clam chowder. However corn and potato chowders are also very popular in American cuisine.
Chowder originally originate in Europe. There are a few theories to where the word chowder originate from. Perhaps it was originally derived from the Latin word calderia means a place to warm things, which later came to symbolize a cooking pot or a cauldron. Perhaps it originated from the French word chaudière means a cooking or heating stove; or from the old English word jowter, which means fish peddler. Or maybe it originated from the French dish chaudrée (thick fish soup from Charente-Maritime and Vendée. Nevertheless chowders were prepared in fishing villages along the coast of France and Southwestern England.
Although this dish has its roots in France or England it has become quite famous in New England and Atlantic Canada. It was brought to North America by early settlers. They would of originally used fish, salted pork and ship’s biscuits. Later shellfish, like clams became more frequently when they were in season.
There are numerous different clam chowders from different regions in North America. Famous ones include New England Chowder (milk based), Manhattan Chowder (broth & tomato based), Rhode Island clam chowder (clear broth). Obviously non of these are vegetarian. However, the Corn Chowder which I have tried to emulate is vegetarian.
The Corn Chowder is very similar to the New England Chowder, in that it is a thick creamy milk based soup. However instead of clams, corn is used. The main ingredients include corn, milk or cream, potatoes and onions. Potato chowder is similar except that cheese, sour cream or bacon is often added.
To make this recipe I consulted a few vegetarian and vegan recipes, including Jamie Oliver’s Corn Chowder and Cheeking Kitchen’s Vegan Rich & Hearty Corn Chowder. I decided to use kale, lemon thyme and garnish with chives, as my mum brought me heaps of lovely produce from the Eagle Farm Markets. My soup didn’t turn out as thick as I would of liked. I think it may have been the gluten free flour. Rather then adding more flour I left it a bit thinner. With the delicious croutons it was a delicious hearty meal. All my family commented how nice it was. This recipe can be made nut free if you prefer to use soy milk instead of almond. It can also be further thickened by using a cashew cream or more flour.
Have you made Corn Chowder before? What ingredients do you like to add to make it shine?
Corn and Kale Chowder with Sour Dough Croutons (vegan, gluten free, soy free)
Ingredients for Soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onion diced
2 sticks celery, diced
700 g red potatoes. cubed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon thyme
2 litres vegan chicken liquid stock
3 tablespoons gluten free flour or corn flour (use unbleached plain flour if you can tolerate)
2 cups plant milk (coconut or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)
4 cups tuscan kale, chopped
sea salt to taste
chives to garnish
Ingredients for Croutons:
1/2 loaf white sour dough bread, chopped into cubes
ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1. Take a large pot and heat olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook for a few minutes, until onions are translucent.
2. Add the potatoes and white wine. Cook until the liquid is absorbed.
3. Add lemon thyme and liquid stock. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer for 15 mins, or until the potatoes have softened.. While its simmering, take about 1 cup of the stock out of the pot and whisk it with flour, then add it back to the pot.
4. Add almond milk, tuscan kale and sea salt. Cook until kale has cooked.
5. In the meantime, place bread in a mixing bowl. Coat with olive oil, garlic powder and sea salt. Then in a medium hot pan toast the bread until it is crunchy.
6. Serve soup with chives and croutons on top.
*Chowder serves 8, croutons serve 4-5
Something new that we bought over the weekend was a Santa Claus melon or Spanish melon. I have never seen this kind of melon before. They had samples at the fruit shop and we really liked it. The flesh is a yellow-white color and the skin is green with yellow. Apparently the more yellow the skin the sweeter it is. It doesn’t taste like a regular melon, its really sweet and a bit firmer.
I made us some smoothies for work using the melon, parsley and spiralina. It was delicious, but a little thicker then I expected. I recently bought these nice glass drink bottles for juicing. Now its worked up a little I’m hoping to get better use of of them.