Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Corn Chowder!

Beautiful, bright veggies and basic pantry staples are your new BFFs in this delicious, easy recipe for corn chowder. 

Coahn chowdah.  Whatevah. 

I tweaked and overhauled this method over the past ten years or so after finding a good basic corn chowder recipe and realizing just how delicious it can be.  It was an epiphany.

On a lark- and for no good reason- I decided to make it as a first course for our Christmas dinner this year.  I served one ladleful in oversized white bowls, topped with a few pieces of chopped bacon.  Its sweet and creamy smokiness was a perfect starter for the tastiness that followed: prime rib and grilled pork tenderloin, green beans and a mixed greens salad with grapefruit and Parmesan. 

Everything was great, but the chowder was so good I decided I needed more.  So I made it again for New Year's Eve, and served it this time in tiny shooter cups at a delicious fondue dinner party. 

Homemade soup is just so worth a little extra time, and this recipe is pretty foolproof.  Even better, it reheats beautifully so it's perfect for weeknight dinners or when playing the hostess-with-the-mostess.

As-is, it's been tested and approved by everyone from toddlers to picky eaters to foodies.  But just because you like the recipe doesn't mean ya hafta marry it.  Change it up however you like- make it vegetarian, add mexican spices or smoked peppers.  A dash of nutmeg would be fab, or a little cayenne would make it super great.  Make it your own.

Corn Chowder
4 bacon slices
1/2 each red, green, and yellow bell peppers (or any combination equaling about 1 1/2 peppers), chopped
5 c frozen corn
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/3 c all purpose flour
6 c low sodium chicken stock
1 t dried thyme
1-2 c skim milk

Over medium-high heat, saute bacon, then cool on paper towels and chop.  Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of chopped bacon.  Reduce pan to medium heat, drain some bacon grease if desired (but leave at least a little).  Add vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. 

Sprinkle with flour and stir, then cook for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in chicken stock and bacon, then rub thyme between fingers to release the flavor and add it to the pot.  Cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chowder thickens.  Stir milk into soup, then puree using a blender or food processor.  For a chunky soup, set aside half and puree the rest, then combine together.  If you prefer a smoother texture, puree all until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer, thin with additional chicken stock if desired.  Top each serving with reserved bacon bits and enjoy!

1 comment:

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