07 September 2008

weekend recipe: zucchini chowder

The weekend recipes are back! You know, until I forget about them again. But I've got a fabulous recipe to share tonight, posting it with just a couple of hours left in the weekend, so it still counts as an official weekend recipe.

Allow me to introduce the Zucchini Garden Chowder. This recipe, like all of my recipes, originated somewhere else, somewhere I can no longer remember, and though I've personalized it a little, credit should be given to some genius cook out there. Not me. This has become my new favorite recipe for cool or rainy summer days. Most of these ingredients are still available at my farmer's market, so if you're as lucky as I am you may be able to try this out before summer officially comes to a close. It's pretty quick to throw together, it's healthy and filling and, of course, delicious.

2 medium zucchini, chopped (give or take -- the zucchinis at our market are so enormous that I've successfully used wildly differing amounts of zucchini in this recipe; I'd say typically 3-4 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil (or chop up a bunch of fresh basil)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (or water)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or a nice big squeeze from half a lemon, or leave it out, it's not crucial)
2-3 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups corn kernels
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a stock pot over medium heat, melt butter, and saute zucchini, onion and basil until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in stock and lemon juice. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat and cook for a couple of minutes while it thickens up a bit. Add tomatoes, milk and corn. Return soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until corn is tender. I usually stir a couple of times to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

At this point you can let it sit and keep warm for a while if you need to. Just before you're ready to eat, stir in the cheese until it's all melty and delicious-smelling.

This makes a huge batch of soup, and with some bread for dipping it makes a solid meal. My entire family actually eats this -- this is the meal that made Evan decide, very deliberately, to start liking tomatoes -- and even after a couple of us have had seconds, we have enough left over to throw in the freezer and save for another cool or rainy day. We have some in the freezer right now and I think I'm going to wait until the farmer's market starts to dry up for the winter and then break out this soup to bring back the tastes of summer.

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