What really happened with young and cute Dave Lieberman and the Food Network? A few years ago, Lieberman seemed like the next rising star at the network but then he was relegated to just the Food Network's Web site and then eventually he was totally separated from the Food Network family.
Too bad because I enjoyed watching him, and his "Dave Eats" Web series were fun to watch. Now he's on the circuit promoting a new book called "The Ten Things You Need to Eat," which he co-wrote with a New York Times health writer and focuses on 10 healthy ingredients like beets and quinoa.
I got an e-mail promoting his book and noting that this month is National Nutrition Month and how Lieberman is the spokesman for healthy eating for Del Monte, the canned goods giant. Since I'm from Hawaii, I grew up with Del Monte, which owned tons of pineapple plantations. I generally buy Del Monte products until a few years ago when I reduced the amount of canned goods I bought because I started to use more fresh, seasonal ingredients that I can easily get at farmers markets.
Anywho, a sample recipe attached to the e-mail was for Chipotle Corn Chowder, and that caught my eye because I had some leftover chipotle peppers in my freezer. It was an odd sample recipe to include because I don't think chipotle or corn is listed as one of the 10 things we're supposed to eat. But why limit ourselves, right?
The recipe was also interesting because it was called a corn chowder but it seemed more like butternut squash soup, which is a main ingredient along with the canned corn from Del Monte. I've reprinted the recipe below, but I totally didn't follow it. For one thing, I didn't feel like chunky squash in my soup, so I pureed the squash when they got tender, and then added the corn after. Plus, the recipe didn't sound healthy with heavy cream (even if it was just half a cup) so I used milk instead.
Overall it was nice, and I liked the smokey-ness from the chipotle (even though I didn't learn my lesson and still put in more than I should have -- at least I didn't put the whole can!). Any soup with corn is OK by me. You'll see in the photo of my soup and the actual photo from Lieberman's people that the two soup looks pretty different. So I think it's just preference.
Chipotle Corn Chowder
3 T unsalted butter or vegetable oil
Flesh from a 3-4 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
3 T all-purpose flour
1 qt. reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can whole kernel corn
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 thyme springs
to taste salt
to taste black pepper, freshly ground
1 small bunch cilantro, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and/or squash and onion and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir into the onion and pumpkin. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring all the while. Add the corn, chipotle peppers, cream, and thyme and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the umpkin/squash is fork tender but not falling apart.
- Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in most of the cilantro leaves, reserving some for garnish.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves.