Photo by Graham Steinruck
Provenance of Dish
My grandmother makes a wonderful seafood chowder that I adapted to be a vegetarian version. Lobster mushrooms and sweet corn are both in season at the same time in Colorado during the summer months and pair perfectly with the potatoes in this hearty but somehow delicate soup.
1/2 lb. fresh lobster mushrooms
1 sweet onion
1-2 fresh corn ears
2-3 stalks celery
3 garlic cloves
2-3 medium sized white potatoes
One tablespoon butter (optional)
One tablespoon olive oil
1 pint heavy cream (or substitute one can coconut milk)
One quart Vegetable or mushroom stock
1/3 cup dry vermouth
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch + 1 tbsp cold water (optional)
Fresh chopped parsley
1. Wash lobster mushrooms and pat dry. Slice mushrooms 1/4” thick and then dice into smaller bite sized pieces. Set aside. Peel and dice onion. Slice celery into long strips and dice. Finely mince the garlic. Peel and dice the potatoes. Peel corn husks and remove the corn kernels from the cob with a knife. (If you put a damp dish towel over a small bowl and place it upside down inside a large bowl you can set the cob on its base on the small bowl and cut down toward the rag. The large bowl should catch most of the kernels.)
2. In a large pot, add olive oil and on medium heat, wilt the onions until they become translucent but not browning. Cook for a minute or two stirring occasionally. Add the lobster mushrooms and cook for another minute or two until the moisture has released from the lobster mushrooms. Add the celery and garlic and cook for one minute. Deglaze pan with vermouth.
3. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the stock, potatoes, and one teaspoon salt. Add water until all the ingredients are barely submerged in liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium low heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife (about 15-20 minutes).
4. Add the cream (and cornstarch and water mixture if using) and bring to a simmer, stirring often until slightly thickened. Be careful to not get too hot or the cream will curdle. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley.