A hearty and comforting gluten-free soup!
Many chowders rely on a flour mixture to thicken them and give them a creamy texture, but not this one! I wanted to come up with a gluten-free option and the answer was simple: by pureeing some of the cooked chowder and blending it back in, this recipe strikes a perfect balance of smoothness and texture. The bacon is optional but adds lots of flavour to this chowder; you could use vegan ‘bacon crumbles’ as a garnish instead if you prefer. Note that you take things up an extra notch by grilling or roasting the corn instead of boiling the cobs. If you want to make this dairy-free, use full fat coconut milk instead of cow’s milk.
- 2 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes
- 4 cups (1L) vegetable stock or water
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried thyme
- 3 cups (750 mL) corn kernels (from cooked cobs or use frozen corn)
- 1 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt, fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup (250 mL) half and half cream
- Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
- In a large heavy-duty stock pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring often, until it is crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate, leaving bacon fat in the pot. Set aside.
- Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, stock or water and thyme. Cover pot and increase heat to medium high; once it is boiling, reduce heat so mixture is simmering. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are just beginning to feel tender but are not fully cooked.
- Stir in corn, zucchini, salt, pepper and cayenne. Simmer for about 10 minutes more until all vegetables are completely tender.
- Discard the thyme stems. Scoop out 3 cups of the chowder and puree with a stick blender or transfer to a regular blender and puree. Return pureed mixture back to the pot.
- Stir in the cream and heat until very warm but not boiling. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
- Serve hot, garnished with bacon bits and parsley.