Chowder Challenge

My neighbor Kathy contemplates the bacon atop her chowder.

My neighbor Kathy contemplates the bacon atop her chowder.

I was recently asked by Elizabeth, organizer of the New England Bloggers, to post a recipe or two that would speak particularly of New England.
Elizabeth is putting together a web-wide gathering of her bloggers to celebrate the first anniversary of this group. On Monday night we will somehow link our Yankee posts together.
I’m a little fuzzy on the technological aspects of this, but Elizabeth assures me that it will happen. (Note from Tinky later: IT HAS HAPPENED!  Visit Elizabeth’s Blog to see all the blog posts for this anniversary celebration.)
In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens has featured quite a few New England recipes, from Maple-Glazed Carrots to Strawberry Scones. I wanted to post something new for this event, however.
I asked Elizabeth what she would like me to write about. Her very first suggestion was Corn Chowder, a worthy addition to any collection of New England recipes.
Corn is perhaps the quintessential American—certainly the quintessential American—food. This native to our shores is versatile: it can be used in soups, breads, stews, and even desserts.
Chowder is ideal fare at this time of year. Somewhere between a soup and a stew, it blends warmth and comfort into its mixture of chunkiness and creaminess.
The recipe below isn’t cutting edge, but Corn Chowder isn’t supposed to be cutting edge. It’s supposed to be New England Comfort Food.
If you get a chance, leave a comment below describing YOUR favorite New England food!
New England Corn Chowder
Those who are lactose intolerant might try omitting the milk or cream. If you want to make the soup that way, puree a little more of it than I recommend below so that the mixture seems creamier. Or try using canned cream-style corn.
Those who love corn chowder but don’t eat pork should try the Chipotle Corn Chowder recipe I posted a while back.
5 thick pieces of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (preferably not yellow; I used orange!), finely chopped
1 pound very tiny potatoes, cut into quarters
3 cups corn kernels (I used frozen kernels defrosted)
2 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk and/or cream
In a Dutch oven brown the bacon pieces to release their fat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces. Drain and save them.
Quickly sauté the onion in the bacon fat, followed by the pepper. Add the potatoes to the pan, and toss them to coat them very lightly in any remaining bacon fat.
Add the corn, liquid, salt, and pepper. (Don’t salt too heavily; remember, the bacon fat is salty. You can always add more salt at the end if you need it.)
Bring the chowder to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 1/2 hour.
If you have time, allow the chowder to come to room temperature and then chill it. This way the fat will rise to the top and you can remove most of it. (The soup is quite filling without that additional fat.)
Puree about a third of the soup in a blender or food processor in order to make the consistency more uniform. The soup needs a few pieces of potato and some corn kernels to seem like chowder so don’t overdo the puree-fication.
Stir in the milk and/or cream and adjust the seasonings. Heat the chowder through but do not return it to the boil. Garnish with the reserved pieces of bacon. Serves 4 generously.

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12 Responses to “Chowder Challenge”

  1. julie says:

    That looks scrumptious! LOVE the bacon garnish (because let’s face it, nearly everything is better with bacon)!

    Thank you for the link to Elizabeth’s site – what a fun and fantastic idea, I’ve added our blog to her list. Guess this means we’d better boost our activity throughout the winter ;).

  2. Jack Estes says:

    Having watched “King Corn” and “Food, Inc.,” and having read Michael Pollan, I have to say corn is so much more than “food.” In fact, it’s downright scary how many various products include corn, most of them inedible. This chowder, on the other hand, looks REALLY edible.

    Another great blog, Tink.

  3. Grad says:

    Tinky, this looks delicious and very similar to a chowder I make. I add grated Vermont extra sharp cheddar. I’ve never tried it with bacon on top, but look forward to it.

  4. Bobbie Atherton says:

    When I was growing up, corn chowder was one of my Mom’s favorites. My mother, being a child of the Great Depression, there were a few changes in the recipe as you made do with what you had. It began with salt pork, minced very fine and “tried out”. The bits were removed when crisp and saved for the topping.(Bacon was saved for Sunday or Holiday breakfasts.) The onions were sauteed in the remaining fat. The potatoes were scrubbed and cut up into chunks, using the odd-sized and blemished (blemishes removed of course) about 2 pounds,..and were added to the onions with enough water to cover.Since we had no electricity, frozen corn was not available so the corn was either fresh or canned. When canned, 2 were used, one of them cream-style. They were added when the potatoes were cooked. Last came the can of evaporated milk which added a richness to it all. served with tried salt pork and oyster crackers. Truly the Yankee way of making do when fresh was hard to come by and waste was not an option. (To this day, I use evaporated milk for all my chowders.)

  5. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thanks, everybody. Bobbie and Grad, I can’t wait to try some of YOUR permutations on this chowder!

  6. Mattenylou says:

    Umm, that sounds so good, a perfect winter soup. I haven’t made corn chowder in a while, but I’ll be making some this week, thanks!

  7. E. Sheppard says:

    This one got a comment on FB too! Chowder just sounds right for this time of year.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Another awesome one, Tinky! The bacon garnish sounds especially good.
    To answer your question, BIL is internet-speak for brother in law.

  9. WhatACard says:

    This looks so delicious! Mmm, I have to try this one!

  10. Kristen D. says:

    Mmmmm….perfect New England winter comfort food!!!

  11. Alicia Ghio says:

    Yum is all I can say! Corn chowder is such a perfect comfort food.

  12. Sara says:

    Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe. Never liked corn chowder until I actually moved to New Hampshire 5 years ago.

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