chorizo, black bean & corn chowder

In my humble opinion, soup is wonderful just about anytime. Fall and winter are no-brainer seasons for soup - all that hot, cozy goodness chasing the cold away. Sadly, even in spring and summer there are days that are cool enough to warrant chill-chasing here in Calgary. But my love of soup has little to do with the weather and a lot to do with easy, yummy, nutrition. It is very simple to pack a lot of goodness (taste and food-value-wise) into a single bowl and that is exactly why I love to have soup - or the fixings for it - in the fridge. Lots of veggies, a bit of quality protein, some herbs to give it a kick and you're good to go. Quick to heat and easy to eat. Perfect.

This soup way out-performs its appearance and totally lives up to the expectation I had reading the name. How could anything fail to be great with chorizo, black beans, corn, and chowder in the title (and thus the pot)? This is another recipe from Spilling the Beans by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan ( a cookbook I highly recommend). We liked it very well as per the recipe but loved it with a squirt of Sriracha sauce and a light handful of chopped cilantro. I also added salt because, well, I love salt and my rational is just this - when one cooks whole foods from 'scratch' one avoids all the added and hidden sodium that bedevils fast and prepared foods. Whatever salt I get is honest sea salt and I know how much and where it is. Besides, it tasted a bit flat and sad without any. But salt this recipe according to your taste and conscience.

chorizo, black bean & corn chowder
(adapted from Spilling the Beans  by Julie Van Rosendall and Sue Duncan)

olive oil for cooking
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 fresh chorizo sausage (about 125 gm)
3 green onions, chopped (separate the white and green bits)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups corn kernels (I used frozen)
1 (19 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
a handful of baby new potatoes, washed and quartered
1 l (4 cups) chicken stock
2 cups coconut milk (fresh, from the dairy case)*
2 tsp sea salt
Sriracha sauce 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the sausage (squeezed out of its casing) and cook, breaking it up, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the white bits of the green onion, the garlic, and cumin and cook for another minute.

Add the corn, beans, potato, and stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the coconut milk and green bits of the green onions. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and pass the Sriracha (rooster) sauce. Garnish with a generous sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

This made enough for generous main-course servings for 2 one evening and two lunches for 2.

*Once again I used So Delicious Coconut Milk (original). You could also use 1/2 to 1 cup of half-and-half cream if that is your preference. Or another milk altogether.

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