Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Corn & Ginger Chowder

Spring is in the air.  And along with the spring comes the sunshine, warm sunny days, flowers are blooming, and all that is bright.  I like to take that same brightness and incorporate that into some of my dishes.  One quick and easy way to bring the outside in, and get that "burst" of brightness is to add ingredients like the ones I am using in my Spring/Summer Corn & Ginger Chowder.
We're starting with:
* one cup or half of a can of yellow corn
* one can of coconut milk
* a can of cream of mushroom soup
*1/4 cup of fresh chopped lemongrass
* one cup of chopped ginger root
* one cup of sauteed portabella mushrooms
* a tablespoon of ground ginger
* salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, combine can of coconut milk, can of cream of mushroom soup, half can of yellow corn, tablespoon of ground ginger, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Stir and bring to a low simmer 4-5 minutes over medium to low heat.
 Now this chowder is going to bring you layers and layers of flavor.  Your basis is going to be the coconut milk, cream of mushroom soup, corn and ground ginger.  That is going to give us our jumping off point:)

While you're letting your basis for this chowder simmer, sauteed in a medium fry pan your sliced portabella mushrooms. 
I always have a trick that I use for the perfect sautee: three minutes sear, two minutes steam.  Just remember that:
Three minutes sear,
Two minutes steam.
And what that simply means is this, I sautee or sear let's say my asparagus or mushrooms, or squash, whatever it is in olive oil on high heat.  And then I turn the heat off, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, and cover it with the lid, and just let that baby steam.  Give it two minutes and essentially, you are done to perfection!  Works for me on asparagus, brocolli, you name it.  And of course if it's a green veggie you can blanche it, but that's another post;)
So go ahead and add your mushrooms and let's get to working on our lemongrass and fresh ginger, our spring flavors.
In a perfect world, you'd walk right into your average supermarket and pick up some fresh lemongrass but in a the instance that they're out of it or it's not in stock, the bottled stuff will do.  Two tablespoons to be exact.

Now we can't skimp on the ginger.  The crunch and layers of flavor that this fresh bit is going to add is going to be Un-believe-able!  Trust me.  Take the time to peel it.  *Tip: Cut off each one of the little nubbies on the ginger root before attempted to peel.  Keeps you from having to dig into every little crevice with your peeler;)  Once your done peeling, go ahead and give your ginger a rough chop and add it to the pot now with your other ingredients. 
Once your chowder is complete and has simmered now for about 15 minutes with continual stirring you can tranfer it to a medium-size crock pot and let it simmer on low for the next 4-5 hours. 

 The brightness and layers of flavor in this chowder are sure not to disappoint.  What are you making these days that shines, "spring"?  Try this chowder & let me know how much you loved it.  Oh, and did I mention that....you won't miss the meat:)
Happy Cookin' & Happy Spring!

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