|Smoky corn chowder|
Or maybe you call it fate, karma, coincidence, being in the right place at the right time, or whatever.
It's still good stuff.
This corn chowder falls into just such a category. Here's the story.
I happened to mention on Facebook that it was my dogs' birthday (yes, they share the same one, four years apart, despite the fact that they are both rescues -- cool, no?) and that I was making them a meatloaf (yep, everyone eats well in this house). A friend messaged me and asked if it was people-appropriate and, if so, would I share the recipe. Suffice it to say that the dogs' meatloaf, while made with people-friendly ingredients, is a bit too bland for most humans, so I offered to send her my regular meatloaf recipe (which is awesome -- I'll blog about it at some point).
In the string of emails that ensued, my friend mentioned that she was making a corn chowder for dinner. I thought that sounded lovely so, in the spirit of recipe swapping, I asked if she would send the chowder recipe to me. She did and included her adaptations as well.
Although corn season has passed for another year (we miss you already!), I fortunately had some shucked frozen kernels in the freezer (store-bought frozen corn would work just as well, too), so I decided to give the chowder a whirl.
(And the fact that the recipe called for a bunch of bacon of course didn't hurt.)
I didn't have high expectations because I can't say corn chowder is a favorite of mine. I mean, if I see it on a restaurant menu, I'll most likely skip it. Clam chowder, now, is a very different story.
But I digress.
This corn chowder was wicked, wicked good.
Succinct, yes, but I don't think any other flowery, food-descriptive language could describe it any better. The bacon gives it a wonderfully smoky flavor (not too smoky, though) and the cheese gives it just a bit of smooth richness, making it wonderfully hearty.
(If, like my friend, you are a chowder purist, you can omit the cheese -- although I think that would make you bat-shit crazy rather than a purist. Just sayin'.)
Whether you choose the cheesehead or purist version, you will not be disappointed by this chowder. Pair it with a simple green salad and thick rustic bread slices for a perfect cold evening meal.
Smoky Corn Chowder (adapted a couple of times from Soup Makes the Meal by Ken Haedrich)
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups corn kernels (about 4-5 ears of corn if using fresh ears)
1/2 teaspoon salt4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup low-fat half-and-half
3 tablespoons flour
4 ounces shredded Gouda cheese (smoked or not, your choice)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Parsley or sliced scallions or crumbled bacon for garnish
In a large soup pot, cook the bacon until nearly done. Add the onion and continue to cook until onion is soft (about 4-5 minutes), then add the garlic, corn and salt and cook for another few minutes. Add the stock and bring nearly to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the half-and-half and flour and add it to the soup. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pot from the heat, add the cheese and stir until melted into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish if desired.