The Best Corn Chowder in the Universe
My daughter complains a lot -- she's a griper, despite how freaking awesome she can be when she's not, you know, griping. This morning, she was carping about having missed lunch in the cafeteria yesterday, because they were serving corn chowder. "I can make you corn chowder," I say, maybe a little too eagerly. My favorite soup ever.
I live in a village surrounded by organic farms and not much else by way of grocery stores. I drove to the farm after a day putting a thousand books on new bookshelves. I belong to a CSA operation -- community-supported agriculture -- where good natured hippie kids with dreads and bead bracelets grow organic vegetables on a small spread of land. It's the last pickup of the winter season, so the pickings were a bit slim: yellow and red onions, apples, carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi, rutabagas, kale, cabbage, eggs, beets. I swung by the co-op to pick up corn and a greenhouse grown red pepper and parsley. I came back laden with good stuff. I pulled some chicken stock out of the freezer; I made it out of old stewing hens that had outlived their use as layers at my CSA.
I chopped and sautéed and sweated and salted and eventually the soup was done. It smelled heavenly. My daughter hated it, in the end -- red peppers! -- but despite that fact: best. chowder. ever. No jokes.
1. Put some diced bacon (preferably uncured, nitrite-free, 4 rashers) in a cold soup pot and turn the heat to medium high. Cook bacon till the fat is rendered and bacon is crispy.
2. Throw into the pot 1/2 large onion, 1 leek, 2 largish carrots, 3 celery stalks, 1 red pepper, minced parsley, 2 tsp dried thyme and salt. The vegetables should be cut in a small dice, 1/2 cm or so. Sauté until softened. Add 3 medium potatoes, diced small.
3. Add 3 TB all-purpose flour and mix until the flour cooks a little -- you won't see any white powdery anything left. After a minute or so, add 8 cups chicken broth. Bring to an easy bubble. Cook for around 15 minutes, till the vegetables are soft. Adjust salt.
4. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and two bags frozen corn (the small bags). Let the cream cook, and the corn warm.
Serve and enjoy. Makes around 8 servings.
Variations: add diced cooked chicken or small shrimp when you add the corn.
And next time, I'll leave the red peppers out. Because it's so much more fun when my daughter loves what I make.