In coming up with a name for this amazingly tasty soup, I stuck with what I call it around the house. It was created in an effort to please my most difficult critic, my 11-year old daughter.
On a side note: When I mentioned that I would calling it “Maddie’s Chowder” for the blog to my daughter I think she thought she might become famous or something! So if you see her on the street don’t mention the soup…I don’t want fame to go to her head 😉
But seriously. Sometimes when it’s time to prep for dinner, I look into my refrigerator and there are 6-10 different veggies just staring back at me! I start to feel like I’m on Chopped (you know that totally addictive series on the Food Network?) and I have 20mins to create something awesome for a panel of judges and I must use all 4 ingredients! My saving grace is always soup. You can throw anything into your favorite pot as long as you start with the tried-and-true base of onions, garlic, carrots and celery. From there, the sky is the limit.
Now I have been making this exact soup for a few years and never have I attempted to write it down. So in order to share it with you, I started the somewhat daunting task of figuring our what it is I put in this chowder. Well, to my surprise, in this process I somehow came out of it with the BEST version I have ever come up with…and I wrote it down! So….you’re welcome 😉
The most important thing to any soup, other than the freshest quality of veggies that you can find, is the stock. The stock determines the difference between a good soup and a great soup. Since I only use veggie stock in my cooking, my requirements when looking for a great stock include; organic, yeast-free, low sodium and not alot of tomato flavor (not all dishes need tomato flavor!). I have tried everyone out there and most of them are okay but I find the best stock comes right out of my own kitchen. Making a homemade stock is simple- throw a bunch of veggies into a very large pot with fresh filtered water and let it simmer for about 1-2 hours, when finished cooking simply strain out the large pieces and Voila! A couple of secret ingredients I use for my stock are mixed dried mushrooms and something green, like kale or spinach.
The necessary spice in this particular soup is the smoked sweet paprika. It creates incredible depth to the soup but really I think it just makes the kids think that I put bacon into it 🙂
And the last ingredient to highlight is Herbamare. If you don’t have this seasoning in your pantry then you need to run (not walk) to your nearest grocery store and purchase it. It’s that good and works in anything!
Serve this up with your favorite bread and its a delicious, healthy dinner (or leftover lunch) that you can feel good about eating.
Prep Time: approx. 40 mins (plus soaking time for cashews)
Serves: 4-6 people
1/2 cups raw, unsalted cashews (soak in filtered water for 30 mins or longer if you have time, then drain & blend with 1/2 cup fresh water until smooth, creamy consistency) * If your house is nut-free, you can skip this ingredient and the soup would still be delicious, just not as creamy
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 med. yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 head of fennel, chopped
2 sm. leeks, chopped
5 sm. red potatoes, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups of frozen (or fresh) corn
1 1/2 tbsp ground sea vegetables (you know the ones you made for the curried lentils- if you didn’t make that yet look at my recipe for Pantry Curried Lentils below)
3 small bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1-2 tsp. herbamare (Or Salt & pepper to taste)
1 tsp. smoked sweet spanish paprika
- Heat up evoo on medium heat then add garlic and onions. Sauté for 3-5 mins until translucent.
- Toss in chopped carrots, celery, and fennel. Sauté for another 5 mins. & finally add in potatoes and leeks and cook for another 5 mins.
- Stir in veggie stock, 1 cup of the frozen corn, sea vegetables, bay leaves, thyme, herbamare and paprika. Place on lid and bring to a boil. Then lower heat in med-low and simmer for approx. 15 mins until potatoes are fully cooked.
- Let soup cool with lid off for about 5 mins to avoid a hot soup shower once you turn on the blender! *** At this point you need remove the bay leaves and discard. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to do this 😦
- Ladle about half of soup into a Vitamix or your blender of choice. Puree the soup until its thick and creamy.
- Combine blended soup back into original pot with remaining soup and stir in the remaining 1 cup of corn.
- Pour in blended cashew cream and stir until fully combined. Reheat slightly to heat the corn and serve immediately.