Sunday, April 5, 2015
Jacques Pépin's Corn and Hominy Chowder: Quick, Colorful and Tasty for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays
This week's soup, a healthy and hearty Corn and Hominy Chowder, comes by way of a welcome to a new chef at I Heart Cooking Clubs and a quick u-turn to buy fresh corn. At IHCC we are ending our six months cooking along with the recipes of Diana Henry and start cooking with uber-chef Jacques Pépin. I have a habit of making my first recipe with a new chef a bowl of soup, both because of its welcoming qualities, and because I find that if a chef and I 'connect' on a great soup recipe, I will usually enjoy cooking their other dishes. Technically I had already tested this theory with Pépin, having made his amazing Tomato Chowder with Mollet Eggs last year, partnered with his memoir for Cook the Books, and trying his raw, cold Silky Summer Tomato Soup with Spinach Coulis, a few summers ago--but hey, it is tradition.;-)
On Friday, I had not yet chosen a Pépin soup and was headed home from meetings when I spied the corn lady's truck at the park-and-ride near my house for the first time this year and I did a (possibly screeching) u-turn to buy a bag of sweet local corn from her. It is always so sweet and juicy and while lovely eaten off the cob, it is fabulous in a soup or chowder. I figured "it's Jacques Pépin--he has been cooking for over six decades, he must have at least one corn soup recipe." Turns out he has several. I zeroed in on this quick and easy chowder from Fast Food My Way, liking the simplicity, use of pantry ingredients, and the hominy.
Jacques Pépin says, "I find the taste of hominy addictive. I always keep a few cans in my pantry. One day I decided to include it in this fast and flavorful soup. It was a hit!"
Corn and Hominy Chowder
Adapted from Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin
(Makes 6 Servings)
3 Tbsp good olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup minced scallion (I used 1 leek, thinly sliced)
1/2 cup Green Hot Salsa or less for a milder soup
1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes in sauce (I used fire-roasted)
1 (28-oz) can white hominy (about 3 cups kernels and juice)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium
sea salt to taste
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn) (I used about 3 cups corn)
1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic, onion, and scallions. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the corn and cilantro. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the corn and cilantro, return to a boil, and serve.
Notes/Results: Simple and good. For as fast as this soup is to make, Jacques does a great job in building flavor. In addition to the salsa verde (I used former IHCC chef Ray Bayless' Frontera Medium Tomatillo Salsa.) which adds bright and spicy notes, the combination of cinnamon, cumin and thyme adds depth and a little smoky sweetness. I like the contrast of the crisp fresh local corn and the chewiness of the hominy. I forgot to grab scallions so I tossed in a leek I had in my veggie drawer along with the sweet Maui onion. This soup was a great pairing of local ingredients and pantry staples. Although satisfying on its own, it is a great base soup recipe too. For more protein, you could add a can of beans, or if feeding carnivores, some shredded cooked chicken or sliced, browned sausage. I served my soup with some mixed veggie tortilla strips and garnished it with a bit more cilantro and small chunks of Cotija cheese, but keep off the cheese, and if you use veggie broth, it's vegan. Other good toppers would be extra salasa verde, chopped tomatoes, or pickled jalapeños. Quick, colorful, tasty, I would happily make it again.
As mentioned, we begin cooking with the amazing Jacques Pépin for the next six months at I Heart Cooking Clubs. This tasty chowder is my way of saying Bonjour Jacques Pépin! and welcoming him. It will be linked up on the post once it goes live tonight. You can see what dishes everyone made to welcome Jacques by checking out the picture links on the post. We are a fun group and everyone is welcome so if you have a hankering to cook along with us to some great themes that you can interpret your way, come join us!
It's a Diana Henry-inspired salad kind of weekend in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look!
Joyce of Kitchen Flavours shares her version of a Diana Henry salad saying, "...I've made her salad, "Spanish Tomato and Bread Salad". I did make a few changes though. I've used some leftover homemade Garlic and Rosemary Foccacia which I've kept frozen, instead of using ciabatta as advised in the recipe. However I did not soak the bread in milk, and fried, as indicated in the recipe. I merely place the chunks of the torn foccacia in a roasting tray, drizzle with some olive oil, and toast them in the oven until they are lightly crisp.I've used a mixture of sweet, yellow and red cherry tomatoes. A simple, easy and wonderful salad to put together. I've served this alongside some roasted chicken, and it makes a lovely side dish."
In January I reviewed a book called One Step Too Far and, finding it a crazy (in the best way) book, I paired it with Diana Henry's 'Crazy Salad.' (Review and recipe here.) The author, Tina Seskis, liked the pairing and the salad and tried it herself, sending me a picture and saying, ""I absolutely loved the idea on Kahakai Kitchen of reviewing books and linking them with meals, but I am also a sucker for a pulse-based salad so was keen to give your Crazy Salad a go. So I thought I'd send you my version, and here it is, with just a few alterations (addition of red onion, omission of carrots, extra chilli oil, extra harissa) and it was delicious. Glad you food the salad as crazy good as I did Tina!
While on this side of the world, spring has sprung, my pal Sue of Couscous & Consciousness is headed into autumn and made a version of a Diana Henry dish. About this Autumnal Fig, Farro & Blue Cheese Salad. Sue says, "This salad is the ultimate ode to autumn on a plate. The nutty flavour and texture of the farro is the perfect foil to the soft, sweet figs, the tangy dressing, the crunch of the almonds, and the salty hits of the blue cheese. This was easily satisfying enough for me to make a meal out of it all on its own, but would also make a great accompaniment to perhaps a roasted chicken or some great sausages. A glass of shiraz or a great pinot on the side, and you have a meal made in heaven. I hope you'll give it a try."
Thanks to Joyce, Tina Seskis and Sue for joining me this this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.
Have a happy, healthy week!