Posts Tagged ‘corn’

Summer Lentil Chili

It’s the time of year when fresh produce is plentiful. My vegetable garden (and the farmers’ market) is a riot of bright colours and peak flavours. It’s also the time of year we stuff our freezer with all this goodness, so we can benefit from it year-round. Some of it “unprocessed” and some of it “processed” into ready meals.

This year though we have an extra incentive to have prepared meals at our fingertips. In as early as a couple of days, at the latest within a couple of weeks, we will be three! In anticipation of the busy and sleepless time ahead, we have been busy cooking and baking. I’ve been balancing the heat outside with the heat of the kitchen, and have pulled chocolate zucchini cakes, banana breads, oatmeal-chocolate-walnut-cranberry cookies and sunflower butter cookies out of the oven.

Meanwhile, David has been the master of the main meals, making turkey pot pies, lasagna, beef and tomatillo stew, sausages, lentil chili. Lentil chili is something we make every year at this time. It’s the perfect way to use the many zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and herbs growing fast and furious in the garden, and makes a colourful and healthy meal.

Recipe: Summer Lentil Chili

The vegetable measurements need not be precise. A little more or a little less garden goodness won’t make a big difference!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-large carrot, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chili powder
1 generous tbsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and cleaned
5 cups vegetable stock
6-8 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 medium zucchini, sliced/cubed
4 red peppers, chopped
4 cobs of corn, kernels removed
1 hot pepper (depending on how much heat you want, slice in half and remove seeds or pierce skin with a toothpick before adding)
2 generous tbsp each fresh thyme, oregano and basil, chopped
Salt to taste

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot. Sauté onions, garlic and carrot until tender. Stir bay leaf, chili powder, cumin and coriander into onion mixture. Add lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are tender and liquid is reduced by half. Mix in tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, corn kernels and hot pepper. Cook 10-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and hot pepper. Stir in herbs. Season to taste.

We freeze our summer lentil chili in 1L yoghurt containers and get approx. 4 containers per recipe.

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Corn and fish chowder

Crisp. Creamy. Sweet. Summer. Corn and fish chowder. I had a small yellow zucchini I needed to use, so I added it too.

The corn is ripe (two weeks early!). That means one thing for me: time to make corn chowder. It’s a summer ritual. I look forward to it every year.

Paired with a crisp white and followed with a blueberry tart, it’s a quintessential summer dinner. The only thing that would make this menu even better is starting with something that included fresh peaches, like this salad.

Recipe: Corn and Fish Chowder

This recipe is inspired by Saveur Magazine’s Lobster and Corn Chowder. Makes approximately 10 bowls.

2 1 cm thick slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 white potatoes, cubed
fresh corn kernels, cut from 6-8 ears
2 tbsp olive oil
several sprigs thyme/lemon thyme
1 bay leaf
3 lbs firm white fish (cod/monkfish/… I’ve used haddock too. A combination provides different tastes and textures), cut into 1″ cubes
6 cups vegetable bouillon
1 ½ cups full cream
½ tsp cayenne, ground
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the bacon lardons until crisp. (We used bacon from Aubrey’s and it was so meaty that we had to add the oil to the pot immediately to prevent it from sticking. Evidence of a high quality product!) Remove the lardons from the pot and drain on a paper towel. If there is a lot of fat in the pot, remove some of the fat.

Add the olive oil to the pot. Add the onion, garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme (keep one for later) and bay leaf. Cook over low heat until onion is translucent. Add the celery and corn. Increase heat to medium and saute for 5 minutes. Add the potato and vegetable bouillon. Bring to just below a simmer and cook until potato is tender.

Add the fish (slower cooking one first if using a combination). Cook until fish is done, 6-8 minutes, keeping the soup just below a simmer. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the cream, cayenne, half of the chopped parsley and thyme leaves from the remaining sprig. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle into bowls, top with some lardons, and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley.

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