Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rustic Pumpkin & Corn Chowder

The clocks have been set back an hour, it's raining outside in Los Angeles this morning, and I'm in the mood for a hearty soup.

A couple of days after Halloween I scraped off the melted wax from inside our pumpkin, and roasted the split halves in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half. I'll put the sweetly caramelized, soft orange flesh to good use today. When Amy bought the pumpkin I knew I would cook something with it, since baked pumpkin is a delicious main ingredient I can use in many recipes.  The next step was figuring out what to cook with it - and four days later, I did! 


My Rustic Pumpkin and Corn Chowder  is easy to put together. And, of course, all the ingredients are cheap (especially, since grocery stores are practically giving away pumpkins this time of year.) The other ingredients are broth, half and half cream (or milk,) a can of corn, onion, garlic and bell pepper. Pretty simple, but complex in flavor.

Way below 99 cents per pound!

The roasted pumpkin will break apart while cooking in a bath of stock and cream, so there is no need to blend it to mush - as most recipes tell you - hence, my calling this vegetable chowder "rustic."


It's a great and comfy dish that will feed your whole family. I hope you saved your pumpkin like I did. So, just cut out the soft and moldy bits and get cooking!

And, if you still have leftover pumpkin after making this recipe, I have a Pumpkin alla Fusilli entree you can try out by clicking here.


Ingredients  (about 6 servings)
  • 5 cups of cooked pumpkin - you can use more, just add another cup or two of milk, broth or water.
  • 1 can of corn with liquid - okay to use 2 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels.
  • 1 whole medium onion - I used a small red, and a small white onion, chopped.
  • 1/4 bell pepper - optional. I used a red bell pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic - chopped fresh or from jar.
  • 2 cups half and half cream - okay to use milk.
  • 2 cups of broth (veggie or chicken) - I used a 14 ounce can of chicken broth. You can dissolve a couple of bouillon cubes in 2 cups of water instead.
  • 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Split pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds. Place in a 350 degree oven on a large cookie sheet (s). Make sure the pumpkin is cut side down - so it looks like a dome - it will steam and soften, without drying out. If you have holes cut out like we did, then just cover it with foil. If your containers are small it's okay to cut pumpkin into large chunks and just cover with foil. In the photo above the eyes and mouth holes are uncovered, and what happened was that a dry skin formed over the pumpkin flesh. It was still soft underneath, but I had to peel it away.


Roast pumpkin for about an hour and a half, depending how large the pumpkin is. Go ahead and check on it after an hour -- if the skin is soft to the touch of a spoon, and the flesh is easy to scoop out, then it's ready. Let the pieces set for about 5-10 minutes to cool down. Scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh with a large spoon (discard any skin that may come off with it), and place in a large stock pot for your chowder.


 Pour a tablespoon of oil into a pan. Saute the chopped onion and bell pepper for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic and cook another minute. Set aside until pumpkin has cooled (unless you precook it, like it did.)


Add canned corn (including liquid) and cooked veggies to the pumpkin in the large pot. Pour in 2 cups of cream or milk, 2 cups of broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and bring up to a low simmer, immediately reduce heat to the lowest, and cook covered for about 30 minutes. You don't want to boil the chowder or the milk will scorch and separate. Stir the chowder after a few minutes of covered cooking.


Check back on the chowder after 15 minutes to make sure liquid doesn't cook out, and add more if needed. I like my chowder thick, but if you want a soupy consistency, then add an extra cup, or two, of any of the listed liquids above.

 Soup is actually ready when hot, but I like to slow cook it for half an hour -- so all the flavors intensify, and the veggies soften even more. Get decadent and serve with a dollop of Creme Fraiche, Sour Cream or Mexican Crema, and a sprinkling of chopped parsley or chives.

Hindsight
I didn't have any bacon on hand, so left it out; although a couple of crumbled browned slices, with the grease, would be a tasty addition. I would also add a cup of white wine next time.

2 comments:

camelia said...

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Michelle Renee said...

YES!! I have been hoping to find someone doing a 99 cent store blog! I am going to bookmark your blog.

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