Wednesday, August 28, 2013

noms: corn chowder

It rained off and on for most of weekend, which made me feel excited for the fall and all the things that come with it as well mournful for the summer and the sun on my skin.  I love this city but the fact that I am already apprehensive about the deteriorating summer sun should tell you that the weather here is no joke, people.

It must have been my mind wandering to all the things that I am looking forward to in the fall, like apple cider and pumpkin patches, that made me crave a bowl of this corn chowder.  I can't remember the last time I made it but it has certainly been over a year, maybe even two.  A bowl of this sweet but kicky corn chowder, a hunk of crusty sourdough, and a nice glass of wine used to be a staple around our house.

Generally I prefer to use fresh white corn for this dish mainly because I think it makes a prettier bowl of chowder but hey, yellow corn is just as tasty.  You can certainly use frozen or canned corn for this as well and if you want to throw together a quick weeknight dinner.

Corn chowder can be made with or without potatoes but I could eat potatoes for every meal for the rest of my life and be happy.  So yeah, I add potatoes to my chowder.

In the past whenever I've made this chowder I've always blended all the components, other than the potatoes and about half of the corn which I added at the end, to make a thick but smooth base.  This time I decided to leave it as a chunky chowder and I found that I really do prefer the blended version better.  Your mileage may vary, of course, and either way really is just fine.

Corn chowder is not the most photogenic of food but it is pretty tasty.

Recipe adapted heavily from this one.  I just could not abide by the amount of butter in this original recipe, although I have made it in the past directly as outlined and it was very good.  But two sticks of butter?!?  I just can't convince myself to use that much butter in anything that isn't dessert.

4 cups corn
3 small white potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small onion finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup AP flour
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk (or fat free works too)
salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

1.  Boil potatoes until barely fork tender, drain.
2.  Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Saute for about 2-3 minutes until onions are transparent.  Add the flour and continue to cook until the mixture is slightly browned.
3.  Meanwhile, boil the corn in the broth for about 10 minutes.
4.  Slowly pour in the corn and broth into the vegetable flour mixture, making sure to whisk well as to avoid any clumps.  If you wish to make the blended version.  Before you do this step you would want to reserve about half the corn.  Then you would blend with a hand mixer until the desired consistency is reached.
5.  Now add the potatoes and bring to a simmer.
6.  Heat up the milk on the stove then add it to the simmering chowder.
7.  Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
8.  Salt to taste (I also add cayenne pepper for some kick- the spiciness works well with the sweetness of the corn).

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