Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegetable Chowder

Another one for the soup files...

In the summer, when corn is in season, I like to buy a ton of it, and then strip the kernels off and freeze it.  Nothing beats the taste of summer sweet corn!  We don't eat a ton of soup in the summer, so I think this one will be a fall favorite with some of that summer corn from the freezer.  There's no reason you can't just buy some frozen corn and use it any time, though, so give it a try!      

Vegetable Chowder (Martha Stewart)

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium red bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced (2-1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups milk
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2-1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (I'm using red potatoes, leaving the skin on)
8 ears corn, kernels removed (about 4 cups)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1-1/2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, broken into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
Hot pepper sauce, for serving (optional)

In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.Add milk, potatoes, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, about 8 minutes.

Stir in corn, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until corn is tender, about 3 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer 3 cups of the solids to a blender; puree until smooth. Return to pot; add green beans.
If you plan to freeze the soup, cook the green beans for a few minutes less; this will help them retain their crunch after the soup is reheated. To freeze, cool chowder completely before transferring to airtight containers; leave 1 inch of space at the top. 

To prepare: Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat over low heat (or in microwave). Bring to a simmer; cook until beans are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper, and hot sauce if desired.

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