Sunday, August 27, 2017

Moroccan Corn Chowder for Food 'N Flix August Pick: Secondhand Lions and for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It's August and fresh and delicious corn is everywhere. Summer is the perfect time for a bowl of corn and vegetable chowder and today's soup blends classic corn chowder ingredients with chickpeas, Israeli/pearl couscous and Moroccan spices. It's inspired by our August Food 'N Flix selection, Secondhand Lions, hosted by Courtney of Fictional Fare (see her announcement post here.)

If you don't know this heartwarming 2003 comedy-drama, I suggest you watch it. It's a favorite movie of mine, introduced to me by my friend Yuri, who loves it probably as much for the adorable dogs (including a Frenchie like her two--Moo and Maggie) as she does for the story. Briefly, it's set in the early 1960s and is about fourteen-year-old Walter (Haley Joel Osment) who is dumped off at the Texas farm of his two eccentric great-uncles Garth (Michael Caine) and Dub (Robert Duvall). Supposedly the two have a fortune squirreled away somewhere and there are many theories of how they acquired it. Walter and his uncles eventually warm to each other and he inspires them to have some fun and spend their money, until eventually Walter's ne'er-do-well mother and her sleazy boyfriend come back looking for the fortune. In addition to the good performances from the movie's human cast, there are those aforementioned adorable dogs, an old lioness that Walter takes care of, various other farm animals, and a subplot of the uncles' adventures in Morocco and North Africa. Sure, it's a bit sweet and fantastical at times, but it makes me smile and warms the heart, and surprisingly there's a bit of food in it too. 

Some of the food I saw: ice tea (sweet tea?) on the front porch, breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausages, root beer, a garden they plant that is supposed to contain peas, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, lettuce, squash, beans and bok choy ("that's Chinese cabbage") but in reality contains "corn, corn, corn, nothing but corn," pumpkins and other veggies and spices in the Moroccan markets, barbecue that looks like ribs, and fish. I watched the deleted scenes and there was a bit more food--catfish-full of buckshot, a dinner scene with lots of meat--mainly pork, Cheerios and milk for breakfast, and a mention for people to "help yourself to vegetables when leaving--there's some good red peppers there."

For my movie-inspired dish, I wanted to make a corn chowder as a nod to all that corn. (I wish I could buy it at .25 cents a bushel--I had to pay $5.00 a bag from the roadside corn lady.) And I wanted to add some Moroccan ingredients and flavors to change it up from the many corn chowders and corn soups that I have made already and to represent Garth's stories about Dub's exploits in Morocco.

I added chickpeas, couscous--I used the larger Israeli or pearl couscous because I like it better in soups, and I seasoned with fresh ginger and garlic, ras el hanout (a Moroccan spice blend full of several aromatic spices--here's a recipe), plus some additional turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and smoked paprika. I also added a can of coconut milk to make it creamier. 

Moroccan Corn Chowder 
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6-8)

2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
3 medium leeks, white & light green parts only, halved, cleaned and sliced
2 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsps Ras El Hanout
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
6 cups low-sodium veggie stock
4 large red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous 
1 (14.5 oz) can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, and red pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and all the spices and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, potatoes and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn and couscous and cook for another 10 minutes until the couscous and the potatoes are tender. Stir in the coconut milk and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste and additional spices if needed/desired.

Serve with toasted flat bread and enjoy!

Notes/Results: This soup smelled so good cooking and it tasted even better than it smelled. The sweetness of the leeks, coconut milk and corn paired really well with the smokiness of the Moroccan spices. The texture of the veggies, chickpeas, and couscous all together was pleasing. It makes for a thick chowder--you can add extra broth or coconut milk if desired to thin it out--but it isn't at all heavy, making it just as good for a warm summer night, as a cool one. I have a feeling it will taste even better tomorrow. I would definitely make it again. 

The deadline for this round of Food 'n Flix is Tuesday, August 29th and Courtney will be rounding up the dishes on her blog soon after. If you can't make it this month and you like food, movies, and foodie movies, join us for Food 'n Flix September when we will be watching To Kill A Mockingbird, hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats.

We have two delicious dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Debra of Eliot's Eats made Cucumber and Mango Salad with Lime Dressing. She said, "We are getting a few cucumbers every few days from the garden so I searched out a salad that I could utilize our garden produce. Obviously, we weren’t able to go pick a mango off a tree, but our garden cucumber did pair great with the other flavors.  The jalapeno was home grown as well. This salad certainly creates an explosion of tropical flavors and I love anything with quinoa.  (Be aware, however, that there’s more veggies and mango in this salad than quinoa.)"

Here at Kahakai Kitchen, I enjoyed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe for Bruschetta of Beans and Celery. Humble ingredients go together quickly and easily for a satisfying and delicious open-faced sandwich. 

Mahalo to Debra for joining me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. This sounds so good, Deb! And while I can't get it for a quarter a bushel, I can get it for a quarter an ear right now - almost as good... ;)

  2. Ha! Secondhand Lions is a great fun movie! But then I'd like Caine and Duval in about any movie. The corn chowder looks delicious and all the rest does also. Good post!

  3. This is a really interesting soup. I'm trying to imagine the Moroccan spices in the sweet corn chowder. Looks hearty and filling.

  4. I haven't seen the movie but I certainly enjoyed your review. I also like the pearled couscous, it gives a good texture and flavor. Have to have some of that soup now, looks very tempting.

  5. This looks SO delicious, Deb. I can't wait to try it...minus the garbanzo beans as my little guys is sensitive to them. But I love the flavor profile you created.

  6. I love the flavors you added to this chowder Deb. It is one of my favorite movies too.

  7. Glad I finally posted a salad to participate in Souper sunday. I am also equally glad that you posted this delicious and aromatic chowder. It's on my list to make this fall.

  8. This soup sounds absolutely lovely and I'm with your friend, the dogs definitely make the movie...and the pig!!!

  9. What a lovely looking soup! Yum!


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