Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Charred Corn and Mushroom Chowder

Inspired by the huge, ugly ear of mushroom that was dwelling in my produce drawer (YES, I put my mushrooms in the fridge, but always in a paper bag) I decided to whip up a batch of summery corn chowder, plus the ‘shroom. The musky flavor added a new depth to this standard preparation, and the grassy puree provided a top notch bright note. Cilantro would work well, too, especially if there were some green and red peppers thrown into the mix.

Charred Corn and Mushroom Chowder

3 tablespoons soy margarine or olive oil
1 pound bag frozen corn or 6 stalks fresh, kernels removed
2 cubes veg bouillon (enough for 4 cups broth)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large potato, diced
2 large or 3 medium stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound various mushrooms - mix of wild and button used here - chopped
1 - 2 cups unsweetened soymilk

Parsley Puree:
handful parsley
bunch scallions
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
dash salt

In a heavy bottomed saute pan or saucepan with a cover, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until hot. Add your corn, toss once, and cover. Let them sizzle over high heat for about 4-5 minutes, until you see some smoke mix with the steam. Remove, still covered, and let sit 5 minutes. You should see a nice char on at least one surface of each kernel. This will add a smokiness to your chowder that is AWESOME paired with mushroom musk. Scrape up all the sticky bits with the corn and set in a bowl, aside.

In a large soup pot, melt your soy butter. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, saute 2 more minutes, or until they start to release their liquid. Add corn, potato, bouillon cubes, and 4 cups water - bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

With an immersion blender, or with a stand alone blender, puree the soup until it is thick, but leave some chunks of mushroom and potato for texture. Stir in soymilk. Salt and pepper to taste.

In your blender, pour oil, parsley, garlic, and chives, and pulse until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Salt to taste. Scrape into a bowl and chill.

To serve: ladle soup into bowls. Add a little water to your chilled parsley puree, so that it has a dribble-able consistency. Drip a tablespoon of puree in a circle over the top of each bowl of soup. Serve with toasts and a citrus-y salad.

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