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The night before we expected a hard frost, Kel picked as much basil as he could and sure enough, the frost wiped out nearly everything in the garden – including the Thai and Italian basil plants. Now the small bag of basil leaves we have left feels precious. Usually my grocery store doesn’t carry fresh basil and when it does it always looks a little worse for the wear, so during the winter we are deprived of basil’s summery, spicy tang. So right now we are especially appreciating the little bit Kel was able to salvage.
For lunch this afternoon we ate this easy and satisfying potato and corn chowder, topped with lots of fresh basil. This recipe, with minor tweaks, comes courtesy of Fat Free & Easy: Great Meals in Minutes, by Jennifer Raymond.
Potato and Corn Chowder
4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
2 cups corn, frozen or fresh
1 cup soy milk (or more if soup is too thick)
Peel and dice the potatoes and put them in a large saucepan with the 3 cups vegetable stock or water. Cover and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Heat 1/2 cup of water or stock in a large soup pot and cook the onion, garlic and bell pepper for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, basil, salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft, another 5 minutes or so.
When the potatoes are tender, mash them right in the pot (do not drain) and combine them with the onion mixture. Add the green chiles, the corn and 1 cup of soy milk. Stir to blend. Add more soy milk or vegetable stock if the soup seems too thick. Heat through and serve topped with fresh basil and a dash of chipotle Tabasco sauce.