Friday, November 4, 2016

Corn Chowder

     A Nice Chowder For A Chilly Day!
     I have sold Corn Chowder as a soup du jour at many restaurants during my career.  When the weather is cold, Corn Chowder sells out every time!  
     There are several regional versions of Corn Chowder in America.  There is a Pennsylvania Dutch version that is made with broth and no cream.  That version also has spoon dumplings in the recipe.  Locals call it chowder, but it is more like a broth soup.
     Sweet Corn takes the place of clams or fish in this chowder recipe.  Corn Chowder is comfortable for those who eat no seafood, because chicken broth creates a familiar savory flavor.  Corn Chowder is started by rendering salt pork, just like old fashioned clam chowder.  Salt pork has a high salt content, so it may not be necessary to add salt.
     Cream is added with the milk in this recipe.  In the old days, cream was not skimmed off of the milk and milk had a much richer flavor.  By adding a small amount of cream, this chowder becomes a little bit richer tasting.
     The roux for chowder is usually made in the first part of a recipe.  The proportion of roux should be just high enough to yield a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  Adding too much roux will make the chowder so thick, that it will be more like goop than soup.  Thick goopy soups are amateurish at best.

     Corn Chowder: 
     This recipe yields about 5 cups.  (Enough for 2 large bowls of corn chowder.)
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped salt pork.
     Gently sauté till the salt pork turns golden brown and the grease renders.
     *There should be about 3 tablespoons of grease and butter in the pot.  If there is not enough, then add enough butter to make up the difference. 
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of small chopped celery.
     Add 1/3 cup of small chopped onion.
     Sauté and stir till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add just enough flour, while constantly stirring, to soak up the grease in the pot and make a roux.  (About 3 tablespoons.)
     Stir the roux and vegetables for 1 minute.
     Step 4:  Add 2 cups of light chicken broth while stirring.
     Add 2 cups of milk.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Raise the temperature to medium/medium high heat.
     Bring the chowder to a gentle boil.  Stir occasionally as it thickens to a very thin consistency.
     Step 5:  Add 1 1/2 cups of large diced peeled russet potato.
     Add 3/4 cup of white corn kernels.
     Add 3/4 cup of minced white corn kernels.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Add black pepper to taste.  (About 2 pinches.)
     *Taste the soup to see if it needs salt.  Add salt if necessary.
     Return the chowder to a gentle boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the chowder is a medium thin consistency and the potatoes are tender.  (The volume should be almost 5 cups.)
     Keep the chowder warm over very low heat.
     Step 7:  Remove the bay leaf before serving.
     Ladle the corn chowder into a soup bowl.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika on the Corn Chowder.

     Deliciously warm and comfy Corn Chowder!

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