RECIPE: Triple C Chowder: Cauliflower, Chicken and Corn Chowder

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Late in October I was really thrilled when JJ and TT (many thanks again!) brought me some Hungarian paprika as souvenir from their European trip; I admit this is not the spice I use very often in my cooking, I had to give it some serious thought…

Rewind back to early October when I went for my haircut at Fab’s; my hair colouring session is the time when I catch up on my magazine reading; we are mostly digitized (twitter, Facebook, instagram) these days, so I rarely buy hard copies of any magazines unless it’s some special edition which I would like to keep. I was flipping through the October issue of Canadian Living magazine and came across their wonderful cauliflower corn chowder recipe; I love the idea of using cauliflower or potato in soups to add the texture without the need for whipping cream.  As usual, I took a snapshot and “tuck” it away in my cookery files…

So here you go; here’s my own version – the end result? It’s a lighter and healthier chowder, and certainly makes a hearty weeknight meal.  Please feel free to change things up anyway you like to suit your own taste and dietary needs.

There’s still paprika left in the pantry, so what’s next? Perhaps a Hungarian goulash for my dear friends? (OO)

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6, parts of the recipe adapted from Canadian Living’s Cauliflower Corn Chowder)

2 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 large yellow onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic finely minced, 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 1/2 Tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, 4 corn cobs (husked, kernels removed, save the cobs), 1 small head cauliflower (cut into bite size), 2 boneless chicken breast (skinned and cut into bite size), 3 cups low sodium chicken broth*, 1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk*, 1 large sweet pepper (seeded and cut to bite size), 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, sea salt for seasoning to taste and sliced green scallions (or chives) for garnish (optional).

*almond milk and using mostly organic produce is my own preference; I’ve used homemade chicken stock as the soup base.  To add some heat – add 1 chili pepper to soup mixture or just use hot sauce in the end when ready to serve.

Preparation:

– In small bowl, prepare marinade for chicken; whisk together 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 Tablespoon paprika and pinch of sea salt.  Add chicken breast cubes to mixture and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

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 In a small pot using medium low heat, add the cobs to the chicken stock, let mixture simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.

– In Dutch oven or large heavy pot, using medium high heat, saute the chicken breast until the meat is slightly browned and half-cooked, about 2 to 3  minutes.  Remove chicken meat from pot.

– Using the same pot, heat remaining olive oil, add onion, garlic, chopped fresh thyme and remaining paprika; saute until onion is softened, this takes approximately 3 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 the corn kernels, cauliflower, pre-heated chicken stock, sea salt and 1/2 cup water, bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, approximately 10 minutes.

– Using an upright blender, working in small batches, process and puree the soup until smooth (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way). To prevent the hot liquid from splattering: remember to allow heat to escape by removing the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to pot, add remaining corn kernels, red pepper and half-cooked chicken breast cubes, bring soup to boil.  Reduce to low heat, stir in almond milk, let it simmer and stir occasionally until red pepper is tender and chicken cubes are cooked through.  Season with sea salt to taste. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice.

– When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls, add hot sauce (optional) and garnish with chopped green scallions or chives (optional).

 

 

RECIPE: Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup)

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Over the weekend I hosted a bridal shower for my dear friend Virginia (Congrats!) and she specifically requested to have corn soup on the menu! I choose to make my favourite recipe, adapted from Jane Lawson’s Yoshoku – Japanese food western style with slight modifications (added chicken stock, omitted sesame oil). This is very easy to make; it’s great as a starter or a meal on its own, Enjoy (OO).

Ingredients: (Serves 2 – 4 (as small starter)

4 cups kombu stock, 1 cup organic low sodium chicken stock (optional), 4 cobs fresh sweet corn (peaches and cream); 1 oz organic unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon grape seed oil, 1 medium leek (white portion only, thinly sliced), 1 celery stalk (finely chopped), 1 to 2 garlic clove (crushed), 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger, 1/4 (60 ml) cup mirin, 1/2 cup (125 ml) cream, salt and pepper to taste, nori flakes and thinly slice green scallions (optional for garnish).

Preparation:

– Cut the kernels from the corn cobs, set kernels and cobs aside.

– Prepare the kombu stock; in a separate saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil, turn off heat and set aside.

Kombu stock: (1 piece of kombu (around 20 g – gently cleaned and wiped with damp cloth), 4 cups of cold water

– Put the kombu and 4 cups of cold water in a large saucepan.  Heat up the water slowly on medium low heat; just before it starts boiling, remove the kombu.

– When kombu stock is ready, add corn cobs and hot chicken stock to the pan and return to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from the heat, discard the corn cobs and set aside.

– In a separate 8 quart stock pot, add butter and grape seed oil, melt over medium heat.

– Add leek, stirring regularly, cook for approximately 5 minutes or until lightly golden.  Add celery, garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant (approximately 1 minute); stir in corn kernels, mix well with other ingredients and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

– Add stock and mirin to corn and leek mixture, and bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

– Using an upright blender, process and puree the soup in small batches (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way).To prevent the liquid from splattering, remember to allow heat to escape; remove the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to stock pot, stir in the cream and heat gently over low heat, do not bring to boil.

– Season to taste with salt and pepper; to serve, sprinkle with nori flakes and green scallions (optional).

Notes:

– I added the organic chicken broth (optional) for more flavour; the original recipe calls for 4 cups of kombu stock only, because I’ve added the additional cup of chicken broth, the soup is not as thick. If you want a thinner soup, add more cream.

– For a smoother and more refined texture, push the puree soup mixture through a fine sieve before stirring in the cream.

– I opted to use a light cream and seasoned the soup with sea salt from Okinawa (a precious gift from my friend “FanFan”, thank you very much!!).

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Corn Soup in “Pink Striped” Icecream paper bowls for the bridal shower

– For the bridal shower, I served them in little “ice-cream” cups:)