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Vegan Corn Chowder

• 8 small red skin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup vegan margarine or oil
• 2 medium onions, diced
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 4 stalks celery, diced
• 2 medium carrots, diced
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
• 1/8 teaspoon dark chili powder
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 8 cups warm Vegetable Stock
• 1 tablespoon oil
• 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
• 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
• 2 medium green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
• 4 cups corn kernels
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• Diced tomatoes (optional)
• Whole cilantro leaves (optional)

Cover the potatoes with water in a small pot. Add the salt. Bring the water to a boil. Boil for three minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the pot from the heat, drain the hot water, and rinse the potatoes with cold water until they are cool. Reserve.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the margarine or heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and spices. Saute until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Add the flour, stirring vigorously so no lumps develop. Cook the flour for 2 minutes to eliminate the raw taste. Remove the pot from the heat. Slowly add 1 cup of the warm vegetable stock. Stir until the stock is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add 1 more cup of the stock and mix well. Add the remaining stock and mix well. When the mixture is smooth, return the pot to medium heat. Stir occasionally as the soup comes to a boil, making sure there is no scorching on the bottom of the pot. When the soup just begins to boil, lower the heat and cook for another 15 minutes or until the soup thickens.

While the soup is cooking, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and saute until they are tender. Add the corn, peppers, potatoes, salt, pepper, and chopped cilantro to the soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Garnish with diced fresh tomatoes and cilantro leaves, if desired.

Serves 8-10