Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pumpkin Corn Chowder

Pumpkin is under utilized, in my opinion. In New England, anyways, is pretty much limited to the Thanksgiving/ Christmas season, and mostly utilized in a standard pumpkin pie. My friend, Lauri, while traveling in New Zealand, reported that baked pumpkin was sold cut up in chunks ready to be steamed and was one of her favorite things to eat while there. I remember feeling envious when she told me. Here, in many conventional grocery stores, you might find it difficult to even find a can of pureed pumpkin after January 1 when the holiday season has officially come to an end. This is why I've become something of a pumpkin hoarder. In my very small pantry, located in the very small kitchen of my very small apartment, you can currently find many cans of organic pumpkin. I just don't want to be caught without it. I haven't actually done the calculations, but I estimate that pumpkin probably takes up about 7% of the total space in my studio apartment.

I am pleased to report, however, that I have seen pumpkin making an appearance more often, especially in the form of a pumpkin curry soup. I haven't found a recipe for it that I am in love with yet, so instead I will share with you a Pumpkin Corn Chowder soup that I've made quite often. I find that people with all different culinary stances seem to like this soup, so it's been a good one to use when cooking for friends and family. Plus, it's packed with lots of Vitamins A and C.

Edit 10/2016: In the last few years there has been a pumpkin explosion and pumpkin has become a massive food trend. There is pumpkin spice flavored everything - beer, chips, oatmeal, pop tarts, ice cream, baked goods, coffee  - you name it. It's pervasive during October and November. I saw a billboard yesterday telling me to get my flannel ready because pumpkin spice coffee is back. I still maintain, however, that pumpkin in it's pure form probably has more opportunity to be showcased as a main ingredient in savory meals, not just as a flavor to make people feel compelled to get into the Autumn spirit.

Important note when making this soup. Although this is called a chowder, don't let the name fool you. It's not thick and creamy like a clam chowder. It's actually a pretty thin consistency. This is not so good as a "meal soup" on its own, but it's great with a hearty salad with some cheese in it and bread. If you want a thicker consistency, add less than six cup of broth, try five, then add milk or cream at the end. Obviously the type of milk you choose will affect the thickness. I also add more corn if I want more texture and thickness.

Pumpkin Corn Chowder
3 tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 small-ish sweet potato, well scrubbed, not peeled, and diced
1 14 oz. can of pumpkin puree
6 c. veggie broth
1 c. corn (I sometimes add more for a thicker texture)
1 tspn. dried thyme
1/2 tspn. dried sage
1/2 cup milk of some sort (rice or soy can be used) - optional

1. Heat oil over med. high heat in pot. Add onion, garlic and sweet potato. Sautee a few minutes until onions are transluscent.
2. Add broth, bring to a boil, then simmer until swt potatoes are tender (30 minutes or so)
3. Add pumpkin corn and herbs. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. If using milk, stir it it and then remove from heat.
4. Puree 1/2 of the soup, and then return to pot, add salt and pepper.


cathay13 said...

I have been DYING to try this recipe again. Love this soup.
- Swim Twin

MikeH said...

Very glad you're doing this. I hope this blog acts as a virtual seedling for the real cafe to come. I think you should take pics of the food... just make them better than the average thai restaurant. ;-)

susan said...

Hey Punkin'

I love your blog. I am with Mike on turning your virtual cage into the real one! Your passion for eating well has always impressed me. I will make it a point to try these recipes and eat more veggies. :)