Instead of getting to our taxes I'm sharing this little soup with you. Not entirely a wise choice but infinitely more appetizing.
I think I've become a bit of a soup snob. Though I've never hidden my penchant for soups, I rarely order them in restaurants unless they come served with amazing accolades. I've been disappointed so many times, pushing aside a too-thick, flour-laden, tasteless chowder, or a watery bowl of broth with nary a vegetable in sight. When I do come across a soup that makes a distinct impression, however, I am a loyal follower and an avid consumer (you may recall this one.)
Many times I spy something in a cookbook or magazine that sounds exceptionally good. Though I might tweak it a bit to our own liking, the "bones" of the recipe remain intact. Or... I completely go off on my own tangent... slicing, dicing, mixing, and simmering until it tastes like what I'm after.
This particular soup is more of the tangent-variety. It came about in the middle of the produce section at the market, after realizing that I had once again left my detailed list at home. Scanning the selection of produce, I remembered a corn and potato chowder that was featured on a cooking show I'd seen. So, yes, I guess I initially "spied" it, but it veered dramatically from that initial thought. That particular recipe called for both flour and cream, neither of which I wanted to use and both of which are fairly common in chowders (and the reason I steer clear). I do, however, like the thought of a chowder... its chunky, hearty, warm-you-to-the-bones nature. I figured a good pop of potatoes would release enough starch to give this soup the oomph it needed to qualify as a "chowder" and deliver that characteristic comforting satisfaction.
The other part of pulling this chowder together was coming up with something that would give it a fresh pop... chowders can be a little boring without a little pop of heat or freshness (just my opinion).
I immediately thought of jalapeños, thinking I could mince them up and cook them along with some onion, or such, to get the base started. Then I spied cilantro... and the whole picture came together.
In reality, I only looked lost and forlorn in the produce section for maybe two minutes...
And the good news is that the chowder turned out great. It was just thick enough to adequately be called a chowder -- tasty with a start of sautéed leeks and turkey bacon to get the broth going; satisfying with generous bites of diced potatoes that are cooked through just until they have that perfect toothy goodness without getting overly mushy; and nicely balanced in texture with a subtle crunch of white corn.
Then... there's the pesto. A dollop atop a steaming bowl of this chowder melts and melds into the broth giving each spoonful a perfect little pop of fresh, zesty flavor.
I can now only hope our taxes come together with the same ease and satisfaction.