Corn and Kale Chowder with Sour Dough Croutons

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 cuisine[1]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. CVR_SFS_ClamChowder_article

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?

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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

olive oil

sea salt

garlic powder

ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Method:

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

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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.

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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.

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11 thoughts on “Corn and Kale Chowder with Sour Dough Croutons

  1. Looks delicious and a nice looking dish. I have trouble getting kale so I have to go somewhere else to find it. Love your history piece too as origins for dishes interest me always. Thanks for writing an enjoyable post splashed with mouthwatering photos.

    • Thanks Thomas! I love food history. I first got interested when I was studying Italian food, but most cuisine dishes have a story behind them. I also find that many old recipes are vegetarian or can be easy made vegan because meat use to be scarce and only used for flavor.
      I also find Kale harder to come by. I’m growing Tuscan Kale, but if I’m not quick it gets eaten by caterpillars. Coles and Woolworths started sell Curly Kale, it but they bunches are much smaller now. Some small grocers have it too sometimes. My mum got this big bunch of Tuscan Kale for a couple of dollars from Eagle Farm Markets. She told me they are really good for herbs big bunches of herbs as well.

      • Hi yes it is so interesting about food history. I have a few old recipes from when I lived in Germany which are historical made when food was not in abundance like during the Second World War I loved talking to the older generation who told me about their ideas on making a meal from not much.. (as a student I used to volunteer to help the old people do their shopping and take them out to the park, most were very frail but sweet people)
        I agree meat (this is true in Asia now) used to be a flavour enhancer to the dish and not the main part… I speak a bit of Italian and Spanish I love their food too…. Hey sorry if I am writing too much, but the last thing I wanted to add was when you mentioned Italian food. A while ago I went to the vegan society dinner at st lucia anyway there was an Italian language student there and he was saying that the idea of a pizza being smothered in thick cheese is a western thing.. Some pizzas in Italy contain no cheese many are vegan… That was interesting to hear But most people think a pizza has to have cheese here .. Yes it’s good to travel and educate ones else about food…

      • Hey Thomas don’t apologies. It’s nice to hear from someone that has similar interests. I don’t really know anyone who is interested in food history, let alone vegan food. I found the same thing with pizza in Italy. Probably the most common vegan pizza I saw was the marinara pizza, it only has with tomato, garlic and oregano. I use to always get the ortolana without cheese, it had roasted eggplant, roasted capsicum and grilled zucchini. Seafood pizzas and pastas also contain no cheese either, which I now find really weird when I see people adding cheese to that. They definitely don’t use as much cheese and its different quality. It kind of melts but not in the same way.I never had trouble ordering pizza cheese free. The hardest thing was finding coffee with soy.
        How did you learn Italian and Spanish? My Italian speaking isn’t very good, I’m a bit out of practice. I only really read and write a bit now for emailing my cousins and looking at recipes.
        I was actually wondering when I watched Forks over Knives about the war, when they said that people didn’t have access to animal products in North Europe during that period, what they were cooking. What kind of things did they eat in Germany? When we went around doing surveys in my Italian cooking class in Milan, most people we asked were vegetarians or only ate seafood. I was really surprised by that considering all the meat products available.

      • Hi That’s interesting about your experience in Italy. I think it funny when you see the thick cheese that is on pizza’s. When I was vegetarian I did same when I made quattro stagioni pizza I used 4 different types of vegetarian cheese. My Italian was started when I had an Italian girlfriend in Germany, she did not speak much German or English so I learned from her. I understand a lot more than I can speak and you have continue to speak them or you tend to get rusty, I do anyway. My Spanish was when I was working on a Gold Mine in Mexico in the beautiful Sonora Desert. I had about 30 electrician who were working under me and I had to converse with them so I started learning Spanish. My Spanish was helped by the Italian that I know, well it helped me.. Corresponding with your cousins is a good thing to continue with the language. I found I really learned German when I stayed with a German family and they spoke no English at all 🙂 German I find is much more logically built than English. English is hard for many people who learn it as there are many parts in the language which are not logical and difficult to explain. Yes in Forks over knives that is an interesting part. I know the people who I was staying with the granddad was ex Waffen SS and grand mother was a housewife. They told me heaps of stories about rations and eating without dairy or meat. One meal I remember was a dish only cooked in that area called Kaps Pfanne which was layers of shredded cabbage, potato, pumpkin with pepper and salt baked in the oven… it was basic, but that is all the guys could eat another story was when we all went mushroom picking and the grand dad told me that when he came back (he was lucky and came back due to an injury in Russia, he should have had his leg amputated but he didnt want his children growing up seeing him without only one leg, so he was crippled… lucky I mean thousands froze to death in his regiment so he said he was lucky) so we went mushroom picking and made some simple food from different mushrooms which was a dish they used to cook during the war… he told me that they had no food rations for 4 weeks so they had mushrooms every day… image that… I love mushrooms but every meal… he used to laugh about it… basically they ate vegan food as it was so hard to get any animal food as that was kept for the fighting soldiers…. thanks for your reply and it is very interesting the history of food… I really like it…
        grazie e godetevi il vostro week-end 🙂

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