Chowder is a simple enough bowl of goodness with a long and interesting history. It’s thought to have French origins, and to have found it’s way to Canada and America via French settlers in those regions over 250 years ago. There are other similar dishes around the world with similar sounding names. There are inevitably many variations in recipe ingredients. One way or another it’s a one-pot recipe of delicious, nutritious and serious sustenance. The creamy sauce is given a wonderful zing using mustard. It makes the whole dish sing.
In my veganised recipe I’ve added asparagus: it gives such a lovely sharp flavour and adds great texture. And it doesn’t disintegrate during cooking.
Given the state of the UK summer at the moment, (endless rain and chill winds) it’s exactly what’s needed. Pure comfort.
I also want to say that one of the joys of cooking, is learning to move away from exact recipes. Chowder is a great place to start. Below is a guide-line recipe, with guide-line ingredients and a general idea of quantities and flavours. Free up your creative cooking and experiment with different vegetables, (keep the potatoes) and tasting the sauce as you go. I’ve said before that really good cooking relies on spices, seasonings and sauces, and here’s another recipe that proves that 🙂
- 1-2 onions (approx.) 180-200 gms. : peeled and chopped, medium fine.
- 1 kg. potatoes ( a floury variety) : peeled, washed, and cut into chunks roughly 3 cm. square.
- 2-3 sticks of celery : washed, de-stringed if necessary, and diced reasonably finely. Reserve any celery leaves to include as a garnish.
- 4 large garlic cloves: peeled and crushed.
- approx. 300gms. sweetcorn (fresh, frozen or tinned).
- 200-250 gms. asparagus: washed, trimmed and cut into pieces approx. 3cm. long.
- 2-3 tsps. mustard powder. (Start with 2, add a little more according to taste).
- Salt : 2 tsps. ( I use Himalayan Pink Salt).
- Coarse ground black pepper to taste. I used lots: potatoes, lemon, and black pepper are such a fabulous match!
- A big handful of fresh parsley : washed and fairly finely chopped.
- 2 good tbs. flour (chickpea flour will keep this recipe gluten-free).
- 1-2 tbs. olive oil.
- Approx. 450 ml. of a good strong vegetable stock.
- 400ml. Coconut milk.
- Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon.
And away we go!
- Take a deep-sided pan with a good lid, and place on a medium high heat.
- Add 1 tbs. olive oil.
- When hot, throw in half the chopped onion, and about 1/3 of the diced celery, and sauté for 3-4 mins.
- Add the crushed garlic, combine with the onion/celery and sauté for another 30 secs.
- Add the coconut milk (including the watery bit), plus 1 tsp. mustard powder, 1 tsp. salt, a good scattering of ground black pepper and juice 1/2 the lemon.
- Allow to warm through just for 2-3 mins.
- Remove from the heat, and pour into a high-speed blender.
- Add the flour at this point.
- Blend until smooth.
- Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse the pan, and then return to a medium heat.
- Add the remaining 1 tbs. olive oil. to the pan.
- Fry the rest of the chopped onion and celery for about 3 mins.
- Add chopped potatoes and sauté for 7-8 mins.
- Stir to prevent sticking.
- Add the asparagus, and sauté for 2 mins.
- Add 1 tsp. mustard powder, 1 tsp. salt. and more coarse ground black pepper.
- Then add the hot vegetable stock.
- Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Probably about 20 mins.
- Remove the lid and add the sweetcorn and the creamy coconut sauce.
- Taste and adjust seasonings : Mustard? Salt? Pepper? Lemon Juice?
- Warm through to a gentle simmer for a further 15 mins. or so, to allow the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally to keep the sauce smooth. Don’t let the chowder boil.
Serve piping hot with a garnish of chopped parsley and celery leaves, and more black pepper.
Traditionally, Chowder was served with crackers, either on the side or broken and scattered over the food. I’ll leave that with you.