Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I can't believe it's vegan!: Roasted Sweet Potatoe and Corn Chowder

From The All New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass

Chef's note (via the cookbook): to streamline cooking, begin preparing the soup while the sweet potatoes are roasting.

Because this recipe involves a lot of prep, I went ahead and sliced and diced everything before I started cooking

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch dice (note: raw potatoes will not dice in the onion chopper no matter how strong you are)
2 tablespoons corn oil (I used canola)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound frozen (but rinsed and defrosted) or fresh corn kernels (about 4 cups)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups finely diced celery
1 cup diced shallots (I used Florida sweet onion)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1.2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 russet (baking) potato (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced parsley (which I forgot to include, so this is optional garnish)
1/2 to 1 cup unflavored soymilk (also optional)

1. Set the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Oil a large roasting pan.
Scatter the sweet potatoes in one layer in the roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, tossing once or twice, 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
3. Reserve 1 cup corn kernels. In a (Magic Bullet!) blender, puree the remaining corn with the water until very smooth, about 2 minutes. (If the corn kernels skins refuse to break down, and look unsightly pass the mixture through a sieve (whatever that is)). Set aside.
4. In a heavy soup pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook the celery, onion, and shallots over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and thyme and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Add the broth, pureed corn, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste.
5. While bring the chowder to a boil, peel the potato, cut it into 1/2 inch dice, and add it to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer until the potato is tender, 25-35 minutes. Chef's note: at this point in the program, I started making a blueberry coffee cake.
6. Dig around the soup and remove the bay leaf. Add the reserved corn kernels, roasted sweet potatoes, and parsley. Thin with soymilk, if necessary, adjust the seasonings. Cook (but do not boil after adding soymilk) until heated throughout.

Now this is some wicked good soup. It made my apartment smell yummy even though I thought the soup wasn't that pretty. It got rave reviews from Sharona, who I fed it to on Oscar night. At least she SAID it was good...

What would I do different? Probably puree all the sweet potatoes and corn. I just thought the soup looked lumpy.

Will I make it again? You bet!

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