This last weekend my girlfriends and I were in Carmel Valley for a little weekend getaway before the craziness of the holiday season. In true Cali style it was warm and sunny but if you paused for a moment you could smell fall in the air. The best! I cherish that moment every year when I can first feel the signs of the seasons changing. It makes my Pacific Northwest heart fill with joy thinking about apples, grey drizzly days (come on California, we need these!), falling leaves, cozy scarves, football and big pots of soup simmering away on the stove. That is the way I remember fall and those are the moments I look forward to year after year. If soup is something you crave as the days start to darken and the crisp air chills your bones this chowder is a great one to try. It became one of my staples last fall and winter because it is fast and easy to make but can be made vegan if you are wanting to keep it clean. Hope you enjoy.
3/4 cup millet, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small hot pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 baby potatoes, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (reserve the cobs if you’re using fresh)
10-12 blades of chives, chopped (or a bunch of green onions)
2 cups small greens (baby spinach, small kale + chard leaves etc)
salt + pepper
extra chives, paprika, extra virgin olive oil and fresh pepper for garnish/serving
Please don’t be afraid to use some salt in this recipe, with potatoes and millet it needs it!
In a medium stockpot, bring 7 cups of water to a boil along with the stripped corn cobs (if using them). Add the millet and a pinch of salt. Cook until the millet is barely tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the corn cobs with tongs and drain the millet, reserving the liquid.
I cook the millet in a pot using chicken stock according to the package directions and set aside. Follow the rest of the directions for the soup and when the stock is added back to the pot use the rest of the open carton of stock plus one more (about 6 cups).
In a large soup pot heat olive oil over medium and add garlic, hot pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Sauté the mix until the garlic starts to appear golden in spots, about 30 seconds. Add the diced potatoes and 6 cups of the millet/corn or chicken stock to the pot, bring soup to a boil.
Add the cooked millet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or so. At this point you can purée a portion of the soup using an immersion blender or by scooping 5-6 ladles full into a blender. Blending will create a creamy chowder like consistency (you can also keep it as is if preferred). Now add the corn, chives and greens to the pot, give it a stir and allow the greens to wilt just a tiny bit. Serve the soup hot with extra chives, sprinkles of paprika/pepper and drizzles of olive oil if you like.