Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan Corn Chowder (Gluten & Dairy Free Corn Soup With Leeks)

Vegan Corn Chowder

Here is the vegan corn chowder I made for friends on a gluten- and dairy-free diet. It is just as delicious as the regular chowder. Using the corn cobs and leek trimmings make for a wonderfully flavorful broth. If fresh corn is out of season or not feasible to use, you will still have a fabulous chowder using frozen corn - just substitute 1 lb frozen total.

I made the soup with soy milk initially but it seemed too thin. As I was trying to figure out what would make it richer and more flavorful, I got the idea of adding coconut milk :-). The coconut milk turned what would have been a good soup into one that was absolutely scrumptious!

The amount of cilantro might seem like a lot, but you need that to bring out the sunny citrus-y flavor that a smaller amount cannot. For all its assertiveness when fresh, cilantro becomes quite mild when heated. Also, do use fresh thyme when you can; the flavor of fresh thyme is incomparable.

8 Servings


6 large ears of fresh corn
3 Tablespoons Oil/vegan margarine
2 Leeks
1 large Red Bell Pepper, chopped
4 or 5 sprigs Fresh Thyme or 1 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cumin Seeds, freshly ground
1 lb New Potatoes
3-4 cups Corn Cob broth/Water
Kosher or Sea Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Red Pepper (Cayenne) or more to taste
2 Tablespoons Rice flour
2 cups Soy or other Milk
1 cup thick Coconut Milk
A generous handful Cilantro, chopped - about
1/2 cup
Garlic Chives OR Green Onions, chopped (for garnish)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

If using fresh corn, cut the kernels from the cob. Then carefully scrape against the cob with the blunt side of the knife to extract the milky juices. Set aside separately.

Trim and clean the leeks and finely chop the white and pale green parts; save the rest for the broth.

Wash the potatoes well and drain; it is not necessary to peel. Cut the potatoes into bite sized chunks.

Pour a tablespoon of the oil into a baking pan with rim. Toss together the corn kernels (fresh or frozen), 2 or 3 thyme sprigs, leeks, bell peppers, and the potatoes with 1 tsp coarse salt, red pepper, and thyme.

Roast the veggies until cooked and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Stir the veggies 2 or 3 times during roasting to cook evenly.

While the veggies are roasting make the broth: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil with the corn cobs and leek trimmings with 1/2 tsp of salt. Simmer for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, strain and set aside until needed.

Heat the remaining oil in a 4 or 5 quart Dutch Oven or a large pot. Stir in the flour and cook until pale gold and fragrant. Stir in the hot broth slowly while whisking so that lumps do not form.

Stir in turmeric, cumin, roasted corn - potato mixture, corn juices if using fresh corn and milk.

Use 1/2 cup of water or broth to deglace the roasting pan (collect the baked on bits and juices) and add to the chowder. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and the cilantro. You may substitute parsley for the cilantro. Check the seasoning and add more salt or pepper as needed.

You might want to pick out the thyme stems before serving.

Serve hot with a little garlic chives or green onions sprinkled on top. Awesome served with warm corn muffins or fresh crusty rolls.


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