Green Chile Chowder
I recently took a birthday trip to New Mexico.
New Mexicans LOVE, I mean LOVE their Green Chile. It’s something that is in EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING…. Like EVERYTHANG!
The Green and Red Chile is the heart of the people and it is involved in many of their staple dishes. It is celebrated throughout their state.
We stayed in Albuquerque (thank goodness for auto correct- I can never spell that dang word). And had our fancy dinner at this place called Artichoke Café.
This lovely café had linen restaurant with a lovely open kitchen and extensive wine list (did you know that New Mexico is home to many award winning wines)? I ordered a green Chile chowder.
Whenever I go out and try new places, I always try a comfort item on the menu, and soup or chowder is always that for me. I feel that this is a way for a restaurant to incorporate simple ingredients an elevate them into a whole new level. Artichoke Café was nothing short of impressive that night.
The Green Chile in the chowder was subtle, but you can most definitely taste it. It was hearty dish, and it's subtle spicy notes was filled with some much depth in its simplicity components that it left a wonderful feeling in my tummy.
I was eager to peek in the kitchen in hopes to see a grandmother cooking a large pot but instead I saw a women chef (a Latina comrade, to my delight- lol) at the helm. I sensed all the dishes that followed would be exquisite.
The Green Chile Chowder stayed with me through the trip. Primary because of its simplicity and its great use of the flavor combination. This chef hit it straight on the nose- and I was determined to recreate this dish at home with ingredients that I had laying around.
I opted to recreate the dish, for our Meatless Monday meal last night, vegetarian way- using puréed kamut berries to mimic the chicken in the Artichoke Café dish and using cornstarch and flax milk for the heavy cream in its original dish .
Here is what I made:
I used minimal ingredients that were available to me that day (basically what I had going on in my fridge so I would go to the store).
The key was to make sure you incorporate the cornstarch into the the coconut milk and create a slurry effect (it's what is called when you mix cornstarch and cold substance, this allows for the activation in the cornstarch to happen and can transform a dish that requires a gravy or a sauce base).
1 cup cooked Kamut Berries
1 tsp of oil
1 leek (sliced thinly)
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup of flax milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 garlic cloves (peeled and whole)
1/3 cup of pureed* hatch chiles (or 3 roasted poblano peppers, if you can't find hatch in your area)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Drizzle of Chili Oil (optional)
Note * I usually roast large batches of chiles and puree them and store in freezer for easy access when needed.
- Heat a stock pot to medium heat and add your oil and the leeks. cook until soften ed 10 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and stir.
- Add the cornstarch mixture and keep stirring.
- Add the Kamut Berries, then the vegetable stock, the pureed or whole chiles and bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for 20 Minutes.
- Remove and puree the batch in a blender and return to pot. Season to taste and add a chile oil to finish it off.
While this recipe seems very simplistic in technique (this is always on purpose so you can easily navigate through your own kitchen), I gave it justice by letting the Kamut shine throughout. I wanted the consistently of chicken without having to have the actual animal protein.
I think you will be happy with the results. I know I definitely was. I hope Artichoke Cafe loves the riff on it. :)
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I will be back next week, with another blog post and another recipe.
Until then, take care!