Monday, July 27, 2009

Cooking to Save the Planet: Summer Vegetable Chowder

Again, a recipe suggestion that makes use of ingredients available locally in summer in many parts of the world--in particular, the ubiquitous summer squash that produces so prolifically from mid-summer to frost in many parts of the U.S., causing those with an overabundance of this vegetable to search for new ways to cook and serve it.

For this soup, I melt about three tablespoons of butter in the bottom of a soup pot, and then add about two heaping tablespoons of flour, mixing well. To that mix, I add four or five medium summer squash (yellow crookneck, but zucchini would also work well), a large onion, a bell pepper, three tomatoes peeled, and the kernels cut from three ears of fresh corn. All of these are chopped coarsely (except the corn, of course).

Stir well to mix with the roux, and be sure to scrape any area of the roux that may have scorched or stuck to the bottom. Add three or four cups of water, salt and pepper to taste, and a bay leaf. If your taste so inclines, add a pinch of sugar, too.

Bring quickly to a boil over high heat, and then turn down and simmer till vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes or so. At that point, coarsely mash the vegetables (I use a potato masher right in the soup pot) and then stir in a cup of milk and bring just to boiling point and serve.

We had this chowder tonight as a prelude to a wonderful summer supper of fresh crowder peas cooked with a handful of whole okra pods on top, cornbread, and sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe. Who could ask for better?