When I think of chowder, it’s usually a bowl of creamy soup with vegetables, potatoes, and clams. It’s not a brothy soup with tomatoes. However, when I started looking for recipes to try because I have hominy and corn in the pantry, most corn-hominy chowder recipes called for lots of tomatoes, sans cream or dairy of any sort. I thought, “Well…OK. I’ll give it a whirl, but it just sounds like I’m making corn-tomato soup with some hominy in it.” While it tasted great, it just didn’t have that cozy, “chowder-y” feel I was craving. SO, after having already cooked this pot of chowder, I took out a new pot and sautéed some diced celery in butter, added milk, and several heaping spoonfuls of organic flour I had in the freezer, then into the already cooked soup they went ─ voila! Instant chowder! 🙂
So, what is chowder? The word chowder is a corruption of the French word “chaudière,” meaning cauldron, the pot in which stews and soups used to be cooked. There are different styles of chowder. In North American cuisine, most chowder recipes contain some sort of fish and/or shellfish, like clams and oysters. New England-style chowder is rich and creamy, often containing salt pork, clams, onions, and potatoes. Manhattan-style chowder omits the cream-based broth in lieu of tomatoes. Of course, as with all recipes and cuisine, the dish will vary from region to region. If you go to the south, you’ll find corn instead of clams in your chowder. If you are in Florida, you’ll see conch in your chowder.
I guess I ended up making a New England-Manhattan-Southern chowder! 😉
I like this recipe because it forced me to use ingredients I never thought could, should, or would go into chowder: cinnamon, cumin, and garam masala.
INGREDIENTS: Use veggie broth if you want a vegetarian meal.
- 3-4 tbs organic butter
- 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, diced
- 1 garlic bulb ~ peeled, chopped
- 1 large shallot ~ peeled, diced
- 4 large organic celery stalks ~ diced
- 1 carton (48 oz.) organic free-range chicken broth
- 1 can (30 oz.) golden hominy
- 1 can (28 oz.) Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilies)
- 1 can (15.25 oz.) organic sweet corn kernels
- 1.5 cups organic milk
- 3 heaping tbs organic all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala (or an Indian curry blend)
- 2 tsp dried Thyme (or oregano) ~ crushed
- sea salt ~ to taste
- freshly ground black pepper ~to taste
- .5 cup organic cilantro ~ coarsely chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk the milk, cinnamon, cumin, indian curry, sea salt, black pepper, and flour together until disolved. Set aside.
- In a large stainless steel pot, heat the butter and sauté the onion, garlic, and shallots until aromatic. Add the celery and sauté until half cooked.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except cilantro, and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to let your soup simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot!
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