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August 8, 2011

The Conscious Cook: Chef Tal Ronnen's Corn Chowder

Cashew cream gives this soup its thick, silky texture

Guide to Meat-Free Meals

  • Linda Long/Compliments of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Corn chowder

Makes 6 servings

sea salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (450ml) diced Vidalia onions
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, deribbed and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 dried chipotle pepper
5 cups (1.25 litre) faux chicken stock (try Better Than Bouillon's "vegetarian no chicken base")
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 fresh thyme sprigs
kernels from 6 ears of corn, plus 2 ears roasted or grilled corn
1 1/2 cups (375ml) thick Cashew Cream (see recipe below)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/2 cup (118ml) diced tomato

1. Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for one minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.

2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and chipotle pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock, potatoes, and thyme, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. With the back of a spoon, smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir to thicken the soup. Add the raw corn and Cashew Cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chipotle pepper and thyme sprigs. Garnish with the chives, tomato, and roasted corn kernels.  

Thick cashew cream

Makes about 2 1/4 cups (1.06 litre)

1. Rinse two cups whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry) very well under cold water.

2. Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

3. Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water.

4. Place nuts in a blender with enough fresh cold water to barely cover them. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. (If you're not using a professional high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.)

5. There will be approximately 3/4 of a cup (180ml) of cashew cream left over from the recipe for you to use in another recipe.

Excerpted from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen, compliments of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Read more from the Guide to Meat-Free Meals


All figures are per serving (assumes six servings).

Protein: 7.75 grams
Calories: 216
Fat: 1 gram
Fiber: 6 grams
Carbs: 25 grams

All figures are per serving (assumes six six-tablespoon servings).

Protein: 12 grams
Cals: 420
Fat: 2.4 grams
Fiber: 2.4 grams
Carbs: 24 grams