Non-seafood chowder

I have a seafood allergy, so I often adapt recipes, like this one. I regularly make this for a weekday dinner – it’s easy, fast, and tasty. Plus, it’s a one-pot recipe, which saves on the washing up. I always make this amount, which serves 4, even if it’s only 1 or 2 for dinner, as left-overs keep very well (although the greens lose their colour). Being able to eat copious amounts of this with a spoon is definitely the cherry on top.

The recipe is based on Nigella’s Chowder with Asian flavours, from Nigella Express. I won’t give her recipe here, as it’s freely available on her website. Instead, I’m giving a rough blueprint of what I typically do.

500 to 750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
500 g potatoes
Half of a leek, or 3-4 spring onions
1 tin of low-fat coconut milk
400 to 600 g ham and/or chicken (although less is fine too)
50 ml or so bottled lime juice
1 tin of sweetcorn (I will also add half a tin of baby corn, if I have any on hand)
salt, pepper, paprika, chilli power to taste

  1. Peel (or not, especially when using the new small potatoes that have barely any skin) and dice the potatoes, to roughly the size of corn kernels. Tip into a large pot and start cooking on low heat, while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Cut up the leek/spring onion, and mix this in with the potatoes. I only add the white parts for now.
  3. Heat the stock (I wouldn’t recommend cubed or powdered, but use concentrated or pre-made) and add to the pot and bring to the boil. Make sure the potatoes are cooked before proceeding further – shouldn’t take long as they’re cut small.
  4. While waiting for the potatoes to cook, cut up the ham/chicken into small dice, and drain and rinse out the corn. Add the meat to the pot and bring to the boil for about 5 minutes (longer if not using pre-cooked meat).
  5. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Add lime juice to taste.
  6. Add the corn and the green of the leek/spring onions, bring to the boil for a few minutes.
  7. Add the seasonings to taste (I add the paprika for colour).

Non-seafood chowder

I find this a very satisfying, but not heavy, meal, somewhere between a chowder and a Thai-inspired thin curry. There are plenty of flavours that work really well together. The amounts of the ingredients are quite forgiving, and I usually just go with what’s in the cupboard. For example, I have substituted potatoes with rice (cooked separately), or when I didn’t have much potato, I’d serve with toasted bread. I’ve used a range of meat, from pastrami to smoked chicken. To be honest, I usually eat 2 servings myself, just because I like it that much.

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