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Creamy corn chowder. June 22, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
Tags: , , , ,

Silence Dogood here. In yesterday’s post, “Salads of the Seventies” (check it out via our search bar at upper right), I mentioned my favorite Seventies cookbook, Vegetarian Gothic (Mo Willett, 1975). So it seemed only right that I share a recipe from this Hippie-era classic, and what could be more fitting for summer than a delicious chowder made with fresh corn?

If you’re skeptical that a recipe that arose from a bunch of Hippies running a tiny restaurant called Krishna’s Kitchen—which had nothing to do with Indian cuisine—could possibly be delicious, who could blame you? This was, after all, the era of brown, heavy, deadeningly bland “health food.” It brings to mind visions of earnest vegetarians soaking dried soybeans, boiling them, and eating them plain (or, desperately trying to add some flavor, with a dash of soy sauce). Eeewwww!!!

But as you’ll see, this simple recipe is miles away from soy-sprout sandwiches and the like. And it’s super-easy to make:

               Corn Chowder

4 cups fresh corn

1 large onion

2 green peppers

6 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic

1/3 cup butter

Chop the onion and green peppers and saute until lightly browned. In a large pot combine the onion, green pepper, milk, corn, and cream. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the spices and butter and simmer until ready to eat.

I’d of course use a large sweet onion (such as Vidalia or WallaWalla) and yellow or orange bell peppers in this soup for a sweeter flavor. (I don’t think yellow, orange or red bell peppers were available when Vegetarian Gothic was written, since only green peppers are used in the book; lucky us to have more options. It appears to have predated the arrival of tofu on our shores as well. But I digress.) And I’d saute them in butter in the heavy Dutch oven I’d use to make the soup, and until the onion clarified rather than browning. For a richer flavor, I’d add the fresh corn and seasonings at that point and saute them for a few minutes as well before cranking the heat way down and adding the milk and cream. And of course I’d add more salt and pepper! Maybe a teensy touch of garam masala for a subtle lift instead of the “powdered garlic.”

Because this is a cream soup, I’d think it would carry well into the colder months, too, substituting frozen white corn (or a mix of white and yellow) for fresh-from-the-cob. But if you use frozen corn, I’d think it would be essential to saute it until it thaws and the water has a chance to evaporate before adding the milk and cream. 

For summer, though, I’d say this chowder would make a great lunch, served up hot and accompanied by the simplest side salad of Bibb and Romaine lettuces with wedges of ripe tomato, fresh basil leaves, good olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and lemon pepper or cracked black pepper. Yum!!!

              ‘Til next time,






1. Jessica - June 22, 2011

This sounds great! I recently got some Himalayan pink salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I’ll have to try them out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Go for it, Jessica! Just remember that for some reason, Himalayan pink salt tastes a lot “saltier” than other salts, so use half as much as you ordinarily would, then taste and adjust. Enjoy!

2. Deborah Meshulam - August 5, 2014

I date myself but when I attended college at UVa, Krishna’s Kitchen was my restaurant of choice when finances allowed. It was simply delicious. I was (and am) not particularly dedicated to health food, vegetarian cuisine, etc., but delicious is delicious and Krishna’s Kitchen served up outstanding food. It was a horrible when it closed but I had the cookbook to see me through. The cookbook is available via the internet–I recommend it. Easy recipes for folks like me who do not like to cook. Very, very good.

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