Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'll Have a Bowl of Corn Chowder.

This is just about my most favorite soup ever, well, it's not a soup, it's chowder! Those that read my ramblings on Food I Eat know that there will never be a fish that makes it all the way past my lips with the exception of heavily spiced or sauced shrimp, preferably grilled. So, don't even begin to talk to me about how corn has no place in the real New England Chowder. You people that eat clams need to come round to the real chowder - corn chowder.

If you are into calories and nutrition facts, click here.

my chowder as a side dish
New England Corn Chowder

Ingredients with variations on the theme and options for your enjoyment no matter how you eat:

6 strips of the meatiest bacon you can find. If you can get applewood smoked bacon do it, because it is the best ever. Trim off any ends that are particularly fatty...yes a bit wasteful, but it's better. Trust me. If you are a serious bacon eater add more...or cook up some to sprinkle on when it is served.

1 onion, chopped - or 1/2 a big onion or less if you are not an onion person, and if you are anti-onion I assume you are next going to tell me that you don't eat garlic either in which case you are at the wrong blog indeed.

1 cup celery, chopped - make sure you include some of those great tasting celery leaves.

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley - no dried stuff here.

2 large cans creamed corn

2 large cans whole corn

4 cups potatoes, diced

at least 1 t thyme, more to taste

fresh cracked black pepper to taste

several shakes of Tabasco

8 cups good quality low sodium chicken stock

Roux! Making it from scratch is the best (recipe below), but you can use that instant roux if you want it really doesn't matter and Tony Chachere makes a good instant roux and I always keep it on hand.

1 quart milk - this is all up to you. Less milk makes the chowder thicker still, you could add in some cream first and then add the milk til it's the consistency you want and it will be so rich and wonderful you will simply swoon. Use whatever type of milk you prefer.

Directions with some other extra ideas:

Saute the bacon with the onion and celery until the onion is softened. Add the parsley, corn, potatoes, salt and pepper, thyme, Tabasco, and stock. Simmer covered for about an hour.

Make the roux - a roux is equal amounts of fat and flour sauteed in a pan until the flour turns a pretty brown. Usually it is cooked to a very dark brown, in this recipe I prefer a medium golden brown. How much you make depends on how thick you like your chowder. This is what I do: 3 T of butter, melted in a pan over medium heat after it's bubbly, add 3 T of flour and stir constantly until it is pretty and golden.

Stir this into the chowder until it thickens a bit.

Add the milk and/or cream (a bit at a time until it gets the way you want it to be and then stop). Do not feel obligated to use all the milk or to stop with one quart. It's you making it so you get to decide. Bring to a simmer again and adjust the seasonings (especially the pepper, thyme, and Tabasco) - you may want to add more instant roux here. Simmer for a few more minutes and then serve. If you are a serious bacon fanatic then you will want to have more cooked bacon to sprinkle on at the table - do not use bacon bits from a jar or I will disown the lot of you.

Great as a main dish, a side dish, or as a first course...or all three!

Enjoy with friends and with as much mindfulness as you can muster.

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