Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Butternut Squash Corn Chowder

Well, I went to Target yesterday to pick up a few items and managed to put a $165 dent in someone's car in the parking lot. Well done, me. But the good news is that I came home with this lovely green quiche pan, which I am very excited to use! Several mornings a week I make frittata-esque egg and veggie bakes but I've been wanting to invest some time into learning the art of crust making. More to come on that front as I think I will attempt a quiche later today. Anyway, enough about what I will do and onto what I have done.

Soup! Much like salads, soup never seemed particularly alluring to me unless it was laden with potatoes and cheese (and butter! and cream!). However, one of my health goals of late is to sneak veggies into everything I possibly can, and it occurred to me that soup is the perfect vehicle for a veggie heavy meal. I've made this chowder a couple of times and while it isn't heavy on green veggies, it does use pureed corn to thicken the soup in place of cream so overall it is hearty without being super high calorie. The flavor is great too! A little crumble of bacon goes a long way in making this (and just about everything) taste rich and delicious. Pair this with a spinach salad and you have a tasty and satisfying meal.

Butternut Squash Corn Chowder
Serves: 4

2 slices bacon
3/4 pound butternut squash, chopped into bite size pieces
3/4 cup green onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound frozen baby corn, thawed
2 1/4 cups milk (I use almond)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar

1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or soup-sized pot till crispy then remove from pan. Crumble and set aside. Reserve around 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings in pan.
2. Add squash, 1/2 cup of the green onions, and celery to pan and saute until the vegetables are tender, somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 minutes. Double check that the squash is soft all the way through. Last time I made this I didn't cook the veggies long enough and the squash was still crunchy (blech!).
3. Set aside one cup of corn and put the rest of the corn in either a food processor or a large bowl depending on your preferred method of pureeing (I put it in a large bowl and use an immersion blender). Add one cup of the milk and process until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cup milk, salt, thyme, and black pepper and blend til combined.
4. Add the reserved corn and the pureed corn mixture to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups of soup into four bowls and top with bacon, cheese, and remaining green onions. Enjoy!

Nutritional Info (per serving): 200 Calories, 8g Fat, 528mg Sodium, 27g Total Carbohydrate, 3g Fiber, 12g Sugar, 8g Protein

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