Heidi Loves Corn

Corn Chowder My friend Heidi, whom I've mentioned on this blog before, loves corn. I, however, don't. Well, it's not like I'm opposed to corn. It just wouldn't be the first thing I grabbed for on a table full of food. Heidi probably would. And she'd likely trample you to get to it first. Anyway, Heidi recently celebrated one year as a vegetarian (yay, Heidi!) and in my never-ending quest to support my friends who give vegetarian or vegan food a try (either by embracing it as a lifestyle or simply going veg*n once a week), I set out to make this vegan version of corn chowder. It wasn't something I normally would have made had it not been for Heidi's passion for corn. And would I have been missing out!!

This corn chowder blew away both my husband and me. The very first spoonful stopped us dead in our tracks. "Holy crap, this is good!" I exclaimed to Emmett.

"Good??! It's amazing!" he declared.

Creamy tasting without being heavy, just a hint of smokey goodness, and the perfect corn-potato ratio are what keep you coming back for one spoonful after another after another after another.

So it's settled. While I still may let Heidi have all the corn she wants, I will fight her to the death for the last drop of this soup. Go make your own, Heids. Here's the recipe:

Corn Chowder with Chipotle Avocado Aioli

Adapted from: I wish I could remember where I got this recipe...it likely came from one of the many vegan blogs I follow. My hugest of huge apologies to whomever this recipe belongs to. I would love to give you the credit you deserve! I've made a few modifications but the recipe base is pretty much the same.

Note: You could easily substitute fresh corn for this but be sure to simmer it in the final step long enough for the corn to cook through, probably an additional 5 minutes or so. You'll need to cut down the potato cook time by 5 minutes in the previous step as well. Also, this soup is amazing without the aioli (which adds a little extra creaminess and kick to the soup) so if you're not in the mood to make it, don't feel obligated to.

For the soup:

2 tbsp vegan margarine ½ package Lightlife's Smokey Tempeh Bacon Strips, roughly chopped (or 1/2 cup chopped veg*n bacon) 1 small onion, chopped 2 celery ribs, diced 2 medium potatoes, diced 4 cups unsweetened almond milk (or soy milk) 3 cups frozen corn 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper a few drops of liquid smoke, if desired (if not using the Smokey Tempeh Bacon, I highly recommend using at least ½ tsp.)

For the Chipotle Avocado Aioli:

1 avocado, mashed 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeds removed (add an additional 1/2 tsp. of the adobo sauce if you want something with a little kick!) 1 large garlic clove 1 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp canola oil 1 tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground pepper

In a large covered soup pot, saute onions, celery, and tempeh bacon in margarine until tender. Add potatoes and soy milk. Bring to a soft boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes have partly broken down. Add the frozen corn, salt, and pepper; simmer another 5 minutes until heated through.

For the aioli, place avocado and garlic in food processor. While blending, add chipotle, oils, salt, and pepper; continue to blend until smooth. Extra canola can be added if a thinner texture is desired.