Summer Corn Chowder

summer corn chowder

This post will be short and sweet….just like the brief window for summer corn. The recipe comes from Martha’s Stewart’s PBS show “Cooking School”, which if you haven’t seen it, is masterfully produced. Martha’s instruction is concisely detailed and her commentary is informative in an approachable way. I personally love how relaxed and focused the show is versus the hyper, over-the-top gimmicky food shows that seem to be flowing out of the TV lately.

I hadn’t intended to post this soup (as evidenced by the image drought) and for the life of me I’m not sure why. However, I quickly changed my tune after spooning it out of the pot for a taste test. It’s a simple chowder. Fresh, sweet and composed of minimal ingredients so as not to overshadow the corn’s delicate flavor. It’s creamy because it’s been mostly pureed, although it is finished with a minimal amount of half and half. Right before serving, snip some fresh chives for garnish- their oniony zip will nicely contrast the sweetness of the corn.

If you are looking for a complete meal idea, I made Garlic Roasted Potatoes with Spinach and Eggs to go along side. Almost forgot to mention….this soup smells like fresh plucked corn and its gorgeous pale yellow hue simply beckons. It’s a treat to all your senses. Please breath it in before you take that first bite…it will only make it better.

Summer Corn Chowder

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart.

I wasn’t happy with the fresh corn in the market, so I begrudglingly used frozen. I know it’s a perfectly acceptable substitute and my end result wasn’t compromised in the least, but I really wanted to shuck corn! Let me know when you make this and I’ll come by and do the honors.

Ingredients

  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 cups white onion, diced (about 1 large)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme wrapped in cheesecloth and bound with twine
  • 5 cups yellow corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 4 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 1 lb red new potatoes, cut into 1/2" discs
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh chives for serving

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven (I used a 6.75 quart) over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onion, thyme, corn and season with salt.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Do not let the onions brown.
  4. Pour in the stock, add the potatoes and then bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Extract the thyme and discard.
  7. Remove 3-4 cups of the soup and set aside.
  8. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  9. Return the reserved soup to the pot along with the half and half. Stir and gently heat.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Serve with freshly snipped chives.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2014/07/21/summer-corn-chowder/

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Nice People Get Clam Chowder

bay leaves for No Fuss Clam Chowder

Who might you ask is nice? Just about everyone in Texas.  It sounds like an exaggeration, but I assure you it’s true.  Our relocation here has been met by a welcoming committee that extends far beyond our tiny (but valuable) collection of new acquaintances. Perfect strangers offer such a heartfelt welcome that they barely stop short of a big bear hug. They’re inclusive, helpful, excited and genuinely hopeful that you will be happy in their beloved state. I’m starting to wonder why everyone doesn’t move to Texas…..maybe it’s the heat.

butter and cream for no-fuss clam chowder

My husband’s team at work is simply one more example of this hospitality. For the months and months…and months that he traveled between states, they never waivered in their concern for his grueling schedule or the separation from his family. They routinely inquired after me and eagerly looked forward to when we would all be settled in TX together. Shortly after I got here (and thanks to my husband’s fervent PR campaign) requests from his office came pouring in for Cheeseburger Soup. I was happy to oblige, but knowing my aversion to Velveeta you might have guessed I wanted to prepare something a bit more….well….sophisticated.  Didn’t happen. I’m a pleaser.  Cheeseburger Soup made its TX debut and did not disappoint. I really don’t’ think this soup can. It’s a dirty little secret that I will forever deny should I come face-to-face with Ina.

baby clams for No Fuss Clam Chowder

While serving lunch that day I managed to field requests for lobster bisque, a confusingly described jalapeño something that is served somewhere in Grapevine and clam chowder.  A while ago I made a classic clam chowder for my father-in-law, only to be poked and prodded for the last year by my husband urging me (obviously not subtly) for his clam chowder to make it on the menu. It’s loaded with sweet canned baby clams AND it’s studded with more than its fair share of applewood smoked bacon. I think the recipe originally came from Williams-Sonoma and with a few minor tweaks it’s a household favorite. However, this time around, it’s not only for our dinner table, but a large jar traveled to work with my husband for a very special someone who just happens to fall into the “Nice People” category.

No-Fuss Clam Chowder

No-Fuss Clam Chowder

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma “Soup” Cookbook.

Try to make this a day in advance as the flavors will continue to develop as it sits overnight. Feel free to add more clam juice if you want a bolder clam flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)
  • 3 oz pancetta, small dice
  • 1 cup chopped celery, small chop (about 3 stalks)
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP extra-dry vermouth
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 14 oz red potatoes, small chop (about 3 medium)
  • 2 10oz cans baby clams, drained
  • 12 oz frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan (I used a 4 qt saute/simmer) over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes so it just begins to soften.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the celery and cook for another 1 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the vermouth and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Deglaze the pan a second time by pouring in the clam juice and scraping up the brown bits.
  7. Pour in the dairy along with the potatoes, corn, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  8. Raise the heat enough to bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Stir frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add the parsley and clams and simmer for an additional 5 minutes until the clams are warmed through.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2014/04/16/nice-people-get-clam-chowder/

 

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Pumpkin Turkey Chowder

I’m sucker for anything pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin latte, pumpkin scones, heck, I’ve even made a funky pumpkin macaroni and cheese, although I’ll concede that I was the only one left licking my lips. This weakness may have something to do with the fact that my Aunt Emlyn still calls me “Pumpkin” or “Punkin” for short. It’s a treasured interchange that harkens to my childhood where Auntie Em (as I called her then….dah….maybe that’s why I never miss a broadcast Wizard of Oz) played sentinel, ready to cover me with a blanket of comfort and refuge when I needed it most. Or maybe it’s that I seem to be forever enchanted with fall and there couldn’t be a more appropriate symbol than The Great Pumpkin. Blazing foliage, crisp air and crunchy leaves, root vegetables, mulled cider, visions of Halloween and anticipation of Thanksgiving….I’d like to just melt into it all!

Years ago I found a pretty terrific recipe for a Chicken Pumpkin Chowder in the strangest place- a flyer from our car insurance company. Considering the source, other skeptical souls may have disregarded it, but at the first sighting of “pumpkin” I plunged in! And we are glad I did. It’s loaded with homey ingredients and reminds you of something your grandmother would make for an after-school snack on a blustery day. Better yet I could whip it up after work without much to-do. Sometime around the beginning of October this favorite started to creep into my mind, pleading to be made and truth be told I felt a bit guilty for neglecting it…..and cheating on it with all those other soups!

My atonement? Transform Thanksgiving leftovers into Pumpkin Turkey Chowder! Yes! Perfect! Better start making turkey stock! Do we have any bacon? Sausage? What about gruyere? My mind started swirling with excitement, although it could have been that extra glass of rosé with dinner. I was bombarded with delectable trails of bread crumbs enticing me to take the chowder in this direction and that direction or maybe even around the corner…….In the end I resolved to present my family with traditional tastes of the Thanksgiving table. I just didn’t want to leave Thanksgiving behind so quickly. If we could linger in a bowl of this festive soup, perhaps we could linger in the moment as well. It’s a small way we can keep the holiday embrace with us as we enter the work week and go our separate ways…reclaimed by the responsibilities of life.  So tonight, I’ll drift off nourished, in body and soul, thankful for a beautiful life filled with love, and of course, thinking of my majestic pumpkin….I will follow you wherever you may lead…….

Pumpkin Turkey Chowder

Pumpkin Turkey Chowder

Serve with fried sage leaves. PERIOD.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, small dice (1 large)
  • 12 oz sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, medium chop
  • 3 cups shredded turkey
  • 16 oz frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 cups homemade turkey stock
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups of half and half
  • Freshly grated gruyere for serving.
  • Fried sage leaves for serving (recipe follows).

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (I use 6.75 quart) over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes until no pink remains and it is browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Deglaze the pot with a few splashes of chicken broth.
  3. Add the butter and onions and sauté until tender and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the corn, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir a few times.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, potatoes, stock, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Stir to loosen up the pumpkin.
  6. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  8. Return the sausage to the pot, along with the turkey and half and half.
  9. Slowly reheat (about 5-10 minutes). Do not bring to a boil or the dairy will curdle.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2012/11/23/pumpkin-turkey-chowder/

Fried Sage Leaves

Great with cocktails. Unique and so easy.

Ingredients

  • Large sage leaves (stems attached)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Panko
  • Olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a small skillet, heat about 1/2 inch oil over medium-high heat until hot. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a few Panko crumbs in to see if they sizzle.
  2. Dip clean, dry sage leaves in egg.
  3. Coat them in Panko.
  4. Slip a few leaves (don’t crowd them) at a time into the oil and fry for 3-5 seconds per side using tongs to flip. Watch carefully as they become golden very quickly!
  5. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and while they are still hot sprinkle “generously” with sea salt.
  6. Best served hot.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2012/11/23/pumpkin-turkey-chowder/

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Like Father, Like Son

When I was first married I relied on a few recipes and made them over and over until they were exactly to our preference. This stocked me with a collection of dishes that I had a comfort level with and could make with relative ease and on short notice. New England Clam Chowder was one of them. In fact, I haven’t tried a new version in over 10 years and when I broke the news to my husband that a new clam chowder was on the horizon, I had to pull out the “remember that Thanksgiving” card. The one where a week before we found ourselves in a hushed, very uncharacteristic hostile disagreement (surprisingly fine dining establishments frown on public displays of aggression) over why I was “tempting” disaster and trying an alternate turkey preparation. Ultimately, I went ahead and made the turkey my way (was there any question) and he graciously proclaimed it was the best he’d ever had. So, armed with this historical victory I tempted disaster once again.

My father-in-law was in town for a brief visit and turns out that like his son, he also has an affinity for clam chowder. Ina Garten boasts a silky, homey version that intrigued me because of its simplicity. It was different from our usual in that it didn’t have the smoky bacon flavor or juicy kernels of sweet corn, but different can be good and in this case great. We were treated with simple straightforward flavors that really deferred to the clams. I love recipes that exhibit restraint and work to maximize the flavor of the ingredients …..letting them standout versus becoming part of a muddled mess. Ina’s chowder delivered on this tenet and could only be enhanced by serving it with these darling mini soup biscuits. Just crush or crumble into your bowl and start digging for clams!

East Hampton Clam Chowder

East Hampton Clam Chowder

Ina Garten’s East Hampton Clam Chowder.

Slightly modified to preference. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts and use store-bought chicken stock or dried thyme. It’s the limited ingredients and their quality that makes this soup so wonderful.

Ingredients

  • 12 TBSP (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)
  • 2 cups medium-diced celery (about 4 stalks)
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (about 6 carrots)
  • 4 cups medium-diced boiling potatoes
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart clam juice
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 2 cups half-and-half, room temperature
  • 3 cups clams

Instructions

  1. Melt ½ stick butter in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. I used a 6.75 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven. Throw in the onions and cook over medium-low heat until translucent (7-10 minutes).
  2. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add the clam juice, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. In a small saucepan, make the roux. This isn’t technical; it just means you are cooking the flour so you don’t get a raw flour flavor in your soup. Melt the remaining stick of butter and whisk in the flour. Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. It will transform into a beautiful golden hue. Whisk in a cup of the warm broth (if it is too hot it might become lumpy) and then add it to the soup. Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.
  5. Add the half and half and clams and gently reheat if you are using canned clams. If you have fresh clams, just simmer for a few minutes to cook them through.
  6. Taste for seasonings.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2012/11/15/like-father-like-son/

Notes:

1. You have three options for the 3 cups of clams.

If you are fortunate to live near a fish market you will be able to get these already shucked. If not, most groceries sell fresh clams that you can shuck yourself. If you go either of these routes it will be about 1 ½ lbs shucked chopped fresh chowder clams. You can use cherrystone or littleneck if you can’t find chowder/quahog clams. Finally, you can also use canned baby clams in water, which is what I ended up doing. I used three 10 oz cans which yielded exactly 3 cups; I was able to use the water to supplement my clam juice needs (it gives you about 1 ½ cups).

2. After opting for canned clams, I had persistent craving for fresh ones…..not to mention I’m partial to how enticing a few shells look bobbing in the soup. So, while the vegetables are simmering, steam some extra clams if you have time.

To prepare, first inspect the clams to be certain they are edible. They should give off a mild scent and the shells should be tightly closed. If the shell remains open after you give it a tap, discard the clam.

Soak the clams in the sink to clean while you prepare a brine to remove grit. Mix 1/3 cup of kosher salt (iodine will kill the clams) with a gallon of water and soak the clams in the mixture for about 15 minutes. Pour the clams into a strainer, rinse with cold water and scrub the shells.

Place the cleaned clams in a large pot with a cup of white wine, a few springs of thyme, and 2 bay leaves. Cover and turn the heat to high. Steam the clams for 3-10 minutes. As they pop remove them from the pot. If after 10 minutes some still haven’t opened, discard them. Watch your clams carefully; if you overcook them they will taste like rubber bands.

Put a few atop each bowl so the soup can seep in and coat the beauties. I put the remainder of the clams in a big bowl family style so everyone could pluck them out at will. And if you really want to give your guests (or yourself) a treat pour the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. It will have developed into a light, delicate briny broth perfect for dunking bread. I reheat it so it’s slightly warmer than room temperature.

Mini Soup Biscuits

Adapted from the blog The Cooking of Joy.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Work quickly in order to keep the temperature of your dough down. Combine dry ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  3. Add butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Add milk and briefly process until it starts to come together.
  5. Dump on to a floured surface and knead (only a little) to bring the dough together.
  6. Form into a round ball and chill for about 30 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough in half (leave the other half in the refrigerator) and roll to 1/8” thickness on a floured work surface.
  8. Prick the dough all over with a fork and cut the biscuits out with a small cookie cutter.
  9. Brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP water) and sprinkle with sea salt.
  10. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until light brown.
  11. If you are not going to enjoy them right away store in an airtight container once cool. Before enjoying, toast under the broiler for about 3 minutes on a baking sheet to crisp up.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2012/11/15/like-father-like-son/

 

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In Honor of Catherine, By Way of Sara

Even if you don’t live in North Carolina there is a good chance you are familiar with Sara Foster.  She is an award-winning cookbook author that celebrates simple, fresh, southern food AND rubs elbows with the likes of Martha Stewart and photographer Peter Frank Edwards. For those of us fortunate to be in her backyard she has two gourmet market cafés called “Foster’s Market”. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel like you are part of something and leaves you with a constant hankering for more. I’m actually scheming at this very moment on how, in the shortest time possible, to get my hands on one of her thick, perfectly measured nut-to-batter, chewy, deep chocolate brownies. I always prefer the savory to sweet, but these fat, fudgy squares that she wraps in basic no-fuss plastic cling could make me change my ways. Anyway to get back on track and off my personal food obsessions, Foster’s serves homemade food, but with a sophisticated undertone and always with a devotion to local ingredients.  Thankfully, Sara shares many of her café recipes in her enticing cookbooks and on her website.

Years ago I started making her Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder and shared it with my colleague, Catherine, who always delighted me with her enthusiasm to taste whatever I toted in that day.  It’s her favorite for a reason.  If you never quite got the “layers of flavor” thing, this is your chance to experience it without having to concentrate and analyze what you are supposed to be “experiencing”. It’s as if one spoonful just keeps going and going and going, working hard for your enjoyment.  As I imagine Sara Foster would tell you, this soup is best made with the freshest produce you can get your hands on.  Please, never ever make it with jarred roasted red peppers. They are so incredibly easy to prepare yourself and play a key role in making this soup special. There are quite a few techniques for roasting peppers, but I prefer the oven for “forgettaboutit” ease and no mess. You’ll be pleased with their fresh, firm, sweetness over the mushy jarred version.

It has been almost two years since Catherine and I have enjoyed regular morning coffee and although making this soup in her honor brings a twinge of sadness, it also brings me closer to her gentle, kind spirit.

That is Catherine on the left!
Photo by Paul Franitza.

Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder

Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder

Adapted from Sara Foster’s “The Foster’s Market Cookbook”.

Ingredients

  • 5 TBSP of unsalted butter, divided
  • A few drops of olive oil
  • 2 large leeks (about 4 cups)
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 4 ribs of celery (2 cups), medium dice
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Kernels from 6 ears of corn, divided (never buy pre-husked corn because without them the kernels have a tendency to dry out)
  • 3 fresh roasted red bell peppers, peeled, cored, seeded and medium chopped, divided
  • 3 tsp of Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP fresh minced thyme
  • 2 TBSP fresh minced parsley
  • 1 cup of half & half

Instructions

  1. To roast the peppers, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Make sure your oven is clean, the exhaust van is on and ventilation is good….otherwise your kitchen is apt to cloud with smoke and your fire alarm will shriek. Consider yourself warned! Place the peppers on a baking sheet and use your hands to rub them with a few drops of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, turning about every 10 minutes so you get a char on all sides. They will become beautifully blistered with black flavor-packing blemishes. This is good! Transfer them to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. They will continue to cook and concentrate their sugars. Let them cool completely then peel their skins off, pull out the stem and remove the core and seeds. Give them a rough chop, reserving ½ cup in a separate bowl and setting the rest aside.
  2. Trim the leeks so that you have only the white and light green parts, then slice in-half lengthwise and cut ¼” half moons. Rinse like crazy in a colander using your fingers to move them around and around to ensure all the dirt is removed.
  3. Cut the kernels from the cob reserving 2 cups in a separate bowl. Set the rest aside.
  4. Melt 3 TBSP butter in a large pot (I use a round 9-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven) over medium heat.
  5. Reduce to medium-low, add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent- about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Add the leeks and celery and cook for another 10 minutes. You want the celery tender. Stir occasionally.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. It will become beautifully fragrant.
  8. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  9. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, melt 2 TBSP of butter over medium heat and sauté the 2 cups of reserved corn with a ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  10. To the soup pot, add remaining corn (not the corn from the skillet), roasted red peppers and any accumulated juices (continue to reserve the 1/2 cup for later), 2 ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and thyme and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat and add the parsley.
  12. Cool slightly and using an immersion blender puree for a rustic consistency.
  13. Add the corn from the skillet, the ½ cup reserved roasted red peppers and half & half.
  14. Taste for seasoning.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2012/08/15/in-honor-of-catherine-by-way-of-sara/

 

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Corn, Sweet, Corn

 I’ve simply never met a corn chowder recipe that I didn’t have to take out for a test spin. It’s always welcome in our bowls and is one of the few things my husband requests. Over the years we’ve enjoyed Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder, Pumpkin Chicken Corn Chowder, Potato Corn Chowder….I promise I’ll share some of these soon! I try to keep this love affair seasonal, but sometimes I do use frozen kernels. But really, when fresh sweet corn is available you just feel summer and without knowing it find yourself in childhood memories of summer meals when the cook yells, “Can someone run down to _______________ (insert your favorite farm stand) and get a few ears”?

Soon you’re cruising down the road and the wind blowing through the windows is bringing with it that sweet, grassy, summer fragrance that I swear sticks to your skin until Labor Day. In minutes you arrive at the cart/wagon/stand/pick-up and grab the perfect dozen, drop a couple of bucks in the padlocked box and head home to save dinner.

When sweet corn from Florida showed up earlier this summer at Whole Foods, I couldn’t resist. Living in North Carolina, it had been a little too early for me to be reliving childhood memories and we were overdue for a corn chowder feast!  A new recipe, of course.  This one from Ina Garten. I served it with jalapeño cheddar corn bread  (my husband’s all time favorite cornbread because it’s a bit sweet and not as dense as most)  and called it a meal, but for a little protein kick you can always add shredded chicken or my favorite, seared scallops or grilled shrimp.

My husband barely came up for air until reaching the bottom of his bowl, but along the way he did offer a few emphatic “mmm’s”. Glad he liked it because it was dinner the next night….and the one after that.

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 12 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 lbs medium-dice red boiling potatoes, unpeeled
  • 10 cups fresh corn kernels (10 ears)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (9 quart) over medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and reserve.
  3. Add the onions and butter to pot and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  4. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes adding the fresh corn halfway through. After 20 minutes the potatoes should be tender and the corn will have a slight crunch.
  6. Add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  7. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each bowl with bacon and grated cheese.
http://www.glassjarsoupcompany.com/2012/08/06/corn-sweet-corn/

Notes

  1. I use yellow corn because I prefer the color it lends to the soup.
  2. To remove the silk from the cob, run a dry paper towel from top to bottom. It’s a handy little trick that I think I picked up from a Bon Appétit interview with Gwyneth Paltrow .
  3. I’ve tried every gadget imaginable to remove the kernels from the cob, but all you need is a sharp knife and a large cutting board. Lay the corn on the board, bring your knife close to the cob and cut straight down the length of the cob. This will yield a flat kernel-free surface that you can rotate to lay flat on the board and cut another side of the cob. You will make the cut four times. After the cuts are made stand the cob up and use your knife to cut close to the cob to clean off all the bits of kernels that maybe you didn’t get with the initial cuts. There’s a lot of milky, sweetness in those last bits that you want to capture.
  4. This recipe calls for turmeric, which is a peppery, slightly ginger-like spice. It calls for so little that you can’t really taste it, so I don’t suggest you go out and buy it if you aren’t going to use it in other preparations. For this chowder it is really just lending a golden yellow hue to soup. Nice, but not essential.
  5. My go-to cheddar to eat and cook with is Black Diamond. It’s a Canadian cheese that is aged to perfection. We’ve introduced it to just about all our friends who also continue to spread the word. I’m in love with the 5-year aged, but it’s difficult to find. Not many stores carry it due to the cost; however, you can usually find the 3-year aged. When you cook or bake with cheese, I think it’s important to use one that is strong and can stand up to the rest of the ingredients, otherwise, what’s the point?
  6. If you like a thick chowder with lots of texture, remove about a quart of the soup, puree it and then add it back to the pot. You can adjust this up or down based on your preference.
  7. This recipe makes enough for a small army, so plan to eat it all week, share it or just cut it in half. If you make the full recipe don’t even think about using a pot that is less than 9 quarts.
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