Nine-year-old Madeleine Steppel of Reston was the Virginia winner of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest sponsored this summer by the White House and Epicurious.com. Here's the headnote she included with her recipe:
"Sen. Mark Warner's recipe for 'creamless' Asparagus Soup, which I found in the 'Celebrate Virginia Cookbook' (p. 69), inspired me to create a chowder recipe. Milk is the state beverage of Virginia, so I wanted my chowder to use milk. On my favorite TV show, Food Network's 'Chopped,' I learned how to make a roux and use it to thicken sauces.
"I'd serve my chowder with salad (spring greens, cherry tomato, strawberries, dried cranberry, and citrus vinaigrette) and whole-grain bread. My chowder is gluten-free, nut-free, kosher and halal. My lunch includes all food groups on ChooseMyPlate.gov: Vegetables (salad greens, peas, carrots, potatoes), Fruits (cherry tomato, strawberries, dried cranberries, orange juice), Protein (fish), Dairy (milk), Grains (bread)."
Servings: 4 - 6
Yield: Makes about 11 1/2 cups
- For the chowder
- 3 white potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 pound frozen mixed peas and carrots
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) flour
- 4 cups (1 quart) low-fat milk
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds skinless or skin-on, boneless white-fleshed fish fillets, such as basa or tilapia, rinsed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Ground white pepper
- For the vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad
- About 4 ounces (1/4 pound) assorted salad greens or lettuces, rinsed and spun-dry
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed, each one cut in half
- 4 to 6 strawberries, hulled, rinsed and cut into quarters or eighths
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
For the chowder: Place the diced potatoes in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Add just enough water to cover them. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Add the peas and carrots, along with enough water to cover all vegetables. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables and leave them in the bowl.
Melt the butter in a large pot on stove over medium heat (do not let the butter burn). Whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste (a roux). Reduce the heat to medium-low; add 1 cup of the milk. Stir until smooth and creamy, then add the remaining milk, the potatoes, peas and carrots and the fish. Stir in the onion powder and garlic powder. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Increase the heat to medium; cook until the fish turns opaque (white), about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Everything should be heated through. Serve hot.
For the vinaigrette: Combine the orange juice, vinegar and oil in a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Seal and shake to form an emulsified (well-blended) vinaigrette.
For the salad: Arrange the greens on individual plates. Scatter the tomato halves, strawberries and cranberries evenly over each portion of the greens. Pour the vinaigrette over each salad just before serving.
Adapted from a recipe by Madeleine Steppel, 9, of Reston.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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