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.