Well we are definitely into the season for warming soups and stews now! Cork has turned decidedly cooler and stormier lately which I love, autumn is easily my favourite season especially as I get to make warming comforting meals like this one :-) Rather shockingly, up until making this I had never had chowder before! I think it's probably because I grew up by the coast and chowder for us meant clam chowder and even when I ate meat and fish I drew the line at shellfish (too much like bugs, bleh! haha) So I was very excited about trying the clam chowder alternative of sweetcorn chowder.
Most sweetcorn chowders seemed to call for potato as well and a lot called for bacon. I went even further with the veg as I felt this was calling out for some carrot and also added leeks which are really nice here. To honour the bacon factor I added both smoked paprika and smoked sea salt which is what gives this it's smokey angle and a wonderful flavour.
When I first made this I made it as a Vegan Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder. Same recipe as here but with some added vegan chicken pieces in there. It was really good but I just felt that the 'faux-ness' of the vegan chicken was letting down the veg so I decided to omit it and just let the veggies shine on their own here. That being said, go ahead and throw in some fried vegan chicken pieces or some chickpeas or beans for added protein if you like. Just reduce some of the veg to make room for them, or increase the broth.
Smokey Vegetable Chowder:
1 Tbsp vegan butter
80g sliced leeks ( 2/3 heaped cup)
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
500ml unsweetened almond milk ( 2 cups)
1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder*
160g peeled and diced potato (1 cup)
80g peeled, sliced and halved carrot ( heaped 2/3 cup)
180g frozen sweetcorn ( 1 cup, heaped)
*As always I use Marigold Organic Vegan Bouillon Powder which has added turmeric which gives this a nice colour. If you are using a different brand bouillon powder then 1/8 tsp turmeric might be nice added to the milk. If you can buy a vegan chicken style stock where you are then I would recommend that.
Whisk the milk with the flour, stock powder, paprika and salt in a bowl or jug and set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan then add the leeks, bay leaves and some freshly ground black pepper. Fry gently until just soft, 2-3 minutes should do. Pour in the milk mixture and add the carrots and potato. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potato is tender, and the broth has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir it now and again and don't worry if you see little white dots of flour or milk. It's not separating and as you can see by the photos it goes away by the end :-)
When there is 6 minutes left add the sweetcorn, turn the heat up to maximum to bring it back to a boil as the frozen corn will bring the temperature down. When it's at a boil again, reduce to a simmer. Check that the potato is tender then turn the heat off, take the lid off and let it sit for 5 minutes. This helps cool it down a bit and thickens the chowder a little more. Check the seasoning then remove the bay leaves and serve.
This chowder is hearty enough on it's own but as with all soups, great with some crusty rolls or French bread.
Nutritional Information: for 1 serving out of 2
Sat Fat: 1.9g
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