What’s the difference between a soup and a chowder? I always thought a chowder was just a chunky soup, but there are some chunky soups that I would never call a chowder (I’ve never heard of minestrone chowder), so… who knows. I’m definitely going to call this a chowder though, since it means I can sing ‘chowdaaaaah’ while I’m prancing round the kitchen.
(and now the word ‘chowder’ has lost all meaning)
Corn chowder is one of my favourite soups – I go a bit mad for sweetcorn (there was a time when I probably had it in about 80% of my meals, it’s great mixed in to just about anything), and you can’t beat a thick, comforting soup. After a surprisingly lovely summer, the weather is starting to cool off here, so my mind is beginning to stray away from cold salads and fresh summer vegetables, and towards warming soups – and corn chowder is top of my list.
Corn chowder is often packed with dairy to give the beautiful creaminess, but I decided to make a vegan corn chowder by using coconut milk instead. It adds a very slight hint of sweetness, and together with the very slight hint of spice, it makes for a wonderful combination of flavours.
The creaminess is also added to by partially blending the corn – just enough for it to break down and make the soup nice and thick. I also left some of the vegetables whole though, since I think it adds a more interesting texture. It’s up to you – if you prefer a smooth soup then blend the whole lot! But you might need to call it coconut corn soup instead of coconut corn chowder (…did we decide that was the difference? I have no idea).
By the way, yes that is naan bread – not the usual accompaniment to corn chowder, but it worked really well! Gotta love using up random leftovers in successful ways!
Creamy coconut corn chowder
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 stick celery finely diced
- 1 mild red chilli finely diced
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 300 g corn kernels I used tinned
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 4 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion, garlic, celery and red chilli. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, until soft.
- Add the chilli powder and corn, and cook for a further minute or two before pouring in the vegetable stock.
- Use an immersion blender to roughly blend the soup - it's best if you leave some parts chunky. Add the coconut milk, and bring to a gentle simmer. When the soup is piping hot, serve it with plenty of fresh parsley.