Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hominy and Corn Chowder with Mexican Pesto

Have you ever had food so good that you hide it to keep ravenous scavengers others in your household from devouring it?  You nibble at it like a Lilliputian to savor the eating experience.  You curse the person who dares to ask for your last bite of food.  If so, you will understand exactly how I feel about this chowder.

This hominy and corn chowder has an incredible depth of flavor that's perfect for jumpstarting comfort food season.  The soyrizo (soy chorizo) lends a nice spiciness.  The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce gives it a pleasant smokiness.  The hominy and corn provide that luscious, sweet corn goodness and they are also a nice contrast in texture.  The cream gives it the rich taste associated with chowders.  Finally, the queso fresco, scallions, jalapeno peppers, and Mexican pesto that rounds out the chowder prove that garnishes can provide a big bang in the flavor department.  Buen Provecho!

This recipe served as a guide for this dish:

Hominy and Corn Chowder with Mexican Pesto

  • 1/2 pound maiz trillado (dried cracked yellow hominy corn; 1 1/3 cups), picked over and rinsed
  • 11 cups of vegetable stock made with 3 Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt & Herbs
  • 1-12 oz pack Soyrizo
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. jalapeno chile, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 can chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepita seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp jalapeno chile, minced
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-12 oz block queso fresco (1/2 cup freshly grated queso for pesto.  Remaining cheese can be used as a garnish for the soup)
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

Soaking dried cracked yellow hominy corn: 

Cover maiz trillado with 4 cups of water and let stand overnight.  Drain and rinse, discarding water.  

Make chowder:

Add soaked corn to pot with 8 cups of vegetable stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 1 hour. (Do not drain.)

While corn is cooking, brown soyrizo and onion in a large skillet on low heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 10 minutes.  Add bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until pepper is softened, about 8 minutes.  

Transfer the soyrizo mixture to pot with corn and its reserved cooking liquid.  Add 3 remaining cups of vegetable stock and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in fresh (or frozen) corn and simmer for another 6 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups of chowder to blender along with 5 - 6 small chipotle peppers and puree.  (Use caution and hold blender top with a clean dish towel to avoid being splashed with the hot liquid).  Stir the pure into chowder along with cream and bring just to a simmer (do not let boil).  Serve with garnish of chopped scallions, minced, fresh jalapeno peppers, queso fresco, and Mexican pesto.  

Make Mexican Pesto:

Combine the cilantro, garlic, pepitas, and jalapeno chile in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.    

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