A surprise from the garden.

by threegirlpileup

I have to admit that the garden has been somewhat neglected lately.  Although I did manage to get a little fall planting done, I still have clean-out to do from the summer.  My garlic and shallots arrived a few weeks ago, but I haven’t managed to get them into the ground.

But things have kept growing.  The peppers are still producing a little, as are the black-eyed peas.  And I noticed a while ago that we seemed to have some volunteer potatoes.  I guess when we harvested them back in August, we missed a few–and they started to grow again.  I wasn’t sure if there were any edible parts underground, but it seemed worth a grabble or two.

And look what I found!

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Okay, not the most beautiful potatoes in the world.  But definitely soup-worthy.  And since yesterday dawned wet, cold, and rainy, soup seemed just the thing.

I settled on our favorite corn chowder, adapted from the somewhat-dated-but-well-loved “The New Basics Cookbook” by Rosso and Lukins (remember the Silver Palate?).  My mom gave me that cookbook in 1989, when I was a college senior and living on my own for the first time.  Anyway, the chowder recipe in there was the starting point, but this is our version.  We started using coconut milk in the days when Anna and I were off dairy, but kept using it because it tastes so good.  But you could certainly go back to using cow’s milk if you prefer.  As a bonus, I took out the flour so it would also be gluten-free.

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Our Favorite Corn Chowder

  • 8 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 4-6 cups diced potatoes (1/4″)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 bags of frozen corn (16 oz. each)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced (1/4″)
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Saute the bacon in a large stockpot until the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.  Add the onions and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the cornstarch and about 1 cup of the stock, scraping the bottom.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining stock, potatoes, and salt to taste. (I use 1-1/2 tablespoons to start, but my stock is unseasoned/unsalted.  Adjust accordingly.)  Simmer until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Add the pepper, corn, half and half, bell pepper, and scallions.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, until all are heated through.  Stir in cilantro and serve.

This soup freezes well, though we rarely have any left over that long!

Dairy Free Corn Chowder

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