Saturday, October 20, 2012

On My Hearth: Pumpkin Chick'n Chowder

Even though Autumn has yet to show her face here in Central Florida, I'm cranking down the a/c and pretending there is a chill in the air outside.  I'm craving comfort food - thick soups & stews, warm spices & seasonings. 

Yesterday was all about settling back into the Ormond Beach house. We won't need  The Beast until next weekend, so we spent the afternoon unpacking, cleaning, washing towels and linens, getting her ready for temporary storage.  Knowing that I probably wouldn't have much energy for cooking after all of that, I pulled out my slow cooker and prepared dinner while sipping my morning coffee. 

I've been a follower of Healthy Slow Cooker for a while now, the new cookbook at the top of my wish list, but haven't tried any of her recipes yet.  This one for chowder was perfect since I had all of the ingredients on hand, saving me a trip to the grocery store.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chick’n Chowder – serves 4

Cooking Time: 6 to 8  hours on low (or 3 to 4 on high)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (I used canned pumpkin)
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegan chick’n, cubed package (Gardein, Soy Delight, Smart Strips Chick’n, etc.)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon vegan chick’n bouillon, like Better than Bouillon
  • 4 cups water (I used vegetable broth in lieu of the bouillon and water)
  • cayenne or chipotle powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy Toffuti sour cream
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (will vary greatly on the bouillon used)
The night before: Cut up the veggies and chick’n. Thaw pumpkin purée if you have it frozen. Store together in one bowl in the fridge. (I skipped this step, prepared the whole recipe in the morning)

In the morning: Add everything except the non-dairy milk, Toffuti sour cream, and the extra salt or pepper. Cook on low for 6 to 8 (or on high for 3 to 4 hours).

Remove bay leaf and thyme stems (if you used fresh thyme). Then add the non-dairy milk and sour cream.

Make sure you thoroughly mix them in the soup. Then taste your soup, and add more salt, pepper, cayenne, or thyme if needed.

If you want a thicker soup you can take about 1/3 of the soup and purée it in a blender or food processor and then mix it into the rest of the soup. Personally I liked the thinner soup.

Serve topped with shredded vegan cheddar, extra vegan sour cream, and/or chopped chives if desired.


The Verdict: While I loved the flavors in this soup, I found it too watery, more like a thin soup than a chowder. I used my immersion blender in an attempt to thicken it up, but all it did was obliterate the ingredients entirely.  Next time I will use a larger potato, or maybe even two, since the one I had on hand was rathe rmeasley. Also, my store was out of vegan sour cream so I just used Dayan shredded cheese, am sure the sour cream would've added some substance and flavor. 

It's Biketoberfest weekend so we'll likely stop by some of the local bars, enjoy the sights & sounds of this yearly event. It's a beautiful day, mildly warm temps so far, hope the bikers are enjoying it!

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