MISSION CRITICAL: Temple Garden Chowder

June 29, 2010

One of the downsides to taking a three-day vacation when you’ve got a CSA … OMG, what do you do with all the food when you get back?

I’m glad it’s been June-Gloomy today, because this would NOT have been made in hot weather. But it successfully used up a whole pile of veggies I had sitting from both this week’s and last week’s CSA. It’s easy to throw together and takes well to substitutions. I’m suspecting it’ll freeze well too, which is a good thing. I still have leftover veggie-and-sausage-pseudo-lasagne-casserole thing from last week that needs eating, too.

This is not really a fucha ryori recipe (traditional Japanese Buddhist cuisine), because I used regular dashi instead of vegetarian dashi. It can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetarian dashi or vegetable broth. Purists might frown on the use of onion and garlic, but I like them. (:

Temple Garden Chowder: Summer Garden

  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb’s worth of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut in half-circles
  • 3 small zucchini, cut in half-circles
  • 4 c. dashi, preferably homemade (you can use vegetarian dashi, vegetable stock, or chicken stock if desired. Maki has a simple recipe for dashi over on Just Hungry.)
  • 2 1/2 c. pinto beans (canned is fine, I had homemade in the freezer. Any type of beans would do.)
  • miso, soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and pepper (sansho or regular) to taste
  • 1 package abura-age (fried tofu puffs), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces

Sauté the onion in a bit of olive or vegetable oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Add the carrots, and while they’re cooking, slice and add the zucchini. Add the dashi, pinto beans, and whatever seasonings you prefer to taste. For the seasonings, I didn’t really measure. I used about a Tbsp. of white miso, a tsp. of red miso, a splash each of soy sauce, sake, and mirin, a large pinch of sugar, and a generous sprinkle of sansho pepper. Simmer until the flavors meld and the vegetables are the consistency you like them.

Just before serving, stir in the abura-age and the kale. Allow the kale to just wilt and turn bright green, and serve immediately.

Temple Garden Chowder

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