Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Sweet corn is ready to be harvested and I highly recommend this recipe! This is the best soup I've made in ages, and unfortunately, I cannot even take credit for the recipe, nor did I get any photos. The recipe is from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999. I would call it a real old-fashioned chowder.

I made the first batch about 2-3 weeks ago and took a bowl to my neighbor Buster. When he brought the bowl back, he said he licked the bowl it was so good! Last weekend I cooked another batch for a get-together, and everyone ate 2-3 servings (served along with a fresh garden salad and crusty bread) and really raved about it. There was enough left to send take-home containers with everyone. (I already had put 10 pints in my freezer; it's not a good candidate for canning because of the cream.)

Makes 6½ to 7 quarts, 10 to 12 servings. The recipe filled my enameled cast iron pot to the very brim.

    * 8 ounces bacon, chopped (I used applewood smoked bacon)
    * 1/4 cup good olive oil
    * 6 cups chopped yellow onions (about 4 large onions, I used Vidalia onions)
    * 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (I used organic pastured butter)
    * 1/2 cup flour
    * 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    * 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    * 12 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)
    * 6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (~2 pounds, I used red-skinned fingerlings)
    * 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds). I used fresh corn, cut off the cob and blanched
    * 2 cups half-and-half
    * 1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (I used imported Irish cheddar)

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon in the olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

The only change I made was the kind of potatoes, and to add the cooked bacon to the chowder when I added the half-and-half and cheddar.

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