How To Transform Canned Vegetables For Chowder

Canned food is generally overlooked, but the truth is you're missing out if you've never used canned vegetables in your cooking. They're affordable, convenient, delicious, and every bit as nutritious as they are in their fresh form. They're also versatile: You can include canned vegetables in just about any soup, stew, chili, or chowder recipe in lieu of their fresh counterpart. You may have an aversion to canned vegetables' softer texture, but anything will get mushy if cooked twice. Still, canned vegetables are all about application, and one of the best uses for them is to make a chowder base.

Why chowder specifically? Because the thickness of the chowder lends itself to the texture of puréed vegetables. You can blend just about any canned vegetable you have into a velvety, thick base for any chowder recipe. A popular application is blending canned corn with heavy cream as a base for roast potato and corn chowder, for example, but there are plenty more options.

Canned vegetables in chowder is purée magic

Grab any can of vegetables you have in your pantry — get creative and use as many as you like. In a blender or food processor, add a little bit of broth, and milk, (or any liquid, really), and blend until smooth. You can make a chowder with this puree on its own or you can sauté some fresh aromatic vegetables like onion and garlic to give it a caramelized depth. Confident in the knowledge that you've built a solid chowder foundation, you can then add the protein of your choice (or some other fresh produce you might have on hand) to this base to round things out.

Puréeing your canned vegetables isn't just a great way of achieving a smooth, hearty texture: For those of us who are not into vegetables in whatever form they take, it's the perfect way to "hide" them. No, canned vegetables are not fresh — and that's okay. They're still there to help you out in a pinch. Try this puréing trick for your next chowder and discover that anything used right is used well.