Popcorn chowder with achiote

Popcorn chowder with achiote

By
From
V is for Vegan
Serves
4

I developed this chunky fresh soup for another Bestival menu. People from all over Britain go to Bestival but pass rapidly through the picture-perfect countryside, which is a shame because the Isle of Wight has some of the best ingredients in Britain. With this recipe I was attempting to somehow bring the Isle of Wight back into the festival by using local seasonal ingredients. I got this corn from farmer Ben Brown from Arreton, just a mile down the road from the festival. The corn was so sweet you could eat it raw, straight from the cob, like sugar.

I served this in soup bowl-sized pumpkins, again from Ben Brown, oiled, salted and lightly roasted prior to filling them with soup.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 little pumpkins, the size of bowls
corn or vegetable oil
2 fresh corn cobs
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
2cm achiote paste
1-2 whole chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely diced, (depending on your heat tolerance)
3 tablespoons cornmeal or masa harina, (not cornflour)
450ml vegetable stock, hot
300ml soya cream
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika, plus extra to garnish
sea salt

For the garnish:

Quantity Ingredient
100g popping corn
a little bit corn oil
handful coriander leaves, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. First prepare the pumpkins. Slice off the top (which will be the lid), then hollow out the centre, leaving enough flesh inside the skin so that the soup will not leak. Discard the insides. Oil the outside of the pumpkin bowls and lids, rub sea salt inside and out and roast for 15–20 minutes. Leave to cool.
  3. Grasp each corn cob firmly upright and slice downwards on each side using a sharp knife; the kernels should fall away easily.
  4. Sweat the onion in a large pan in some oil, then add the garlic, achiote paste and corn. Lightly sauté, then add the chipotle and stir well. Add the cornmeal or masa harina, hot stock, soya cream, 2 teaspoons salt and the smoked paprika. Check and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes. This soup does deepen in flavour if you keep it going. I mention a minimum here, but I often feel soup is better the next day.
  6. Meanwhile, put the popping corn and a little corn oil in a large saucepan with a well-fitting lid and place over a high heat. Once the popping subsides, leave behind the unpopped kernels and season the rest with sea salt and the sweet smoked paprika.
  7. Ladle the hot soup into the pumpkin bowls, top with a few coriander leaves and some popcorn and serve.
Tags:
Vegan
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