OK – perhaps not that lazy. It’s not that I had a particularly unproductive day. I worked. I got some exercise. I even washed the car. The evening quickly turned lazy after the plan for a “dessert pizza” sort of thing was torpedoed by lack of a certain ingredient. I wasn’t interested in the hour round trip to the store that undoubtedly would have it. After a brief funk, plan B emerged, in which a corn chowder would be assembled.
This is an adaptation from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Adapted because we didn’t have any fresh corn. We bought the nicest looking frozen corn we could find in the store. I’m sure it’s even better with fresh corn. I love fresh corn. Except for the whole kernels stuck in teeth thing. Corn must be one of those products that takes very well to freezing. Fresh corn will always be better but decent frozen corn is a close second. There are countless other little changes here and there. America’s Test Kitchen did the work here, no question. Thanks guys.
For throwing a whole chowder together, it’s a remarkably quick recipe. To be sure, you won’t be throwing it together in ten minutes for surprise company. But with slightly more time you can bang out a killer soup that you can claim to have worked on for days.
In a small pan simmer 1/2 cup of frozen corn and 3/4 cup of water, over medium-low heat. Continue to slowly simmer until most of the water is evaporated. Let’s say ten to fifteen minutes. Set that aside.
As that’s simmering you can chop up the onion, potatoes and the bacon. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a dutch oven or other suitable pot. Add the onion, bacon, thyme, some salt and pepper to the pot, over medium-ish heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in flour slowly and continue cooking, stirring constantly. A wooden spatula with a flat bottom is fantastic for such an endeavor. Cook for about two minutes. Gradually add all the water to the mix, use a whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add six cups of frozen corn and the pound of cut potatoes. Return the mixture to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until potatoes have softened, let’s say 15 to 20 minutes, on average. As that’s simmering away, go back to the corn mixture that you started with. Strain the corn and water through a seive, into a container or bowl. Press the corn against the sides to wring out all the juice and pulp that you can. While not a requirement, we opted to add the mashed up corn bits from the seive, right back into the soup. Why waste?
When the potatoes have softened, ladles out 2 cups of soup and put it into your blender or food processor. Pulse, chop, liquefy, puree, smash, or otherwise whirl around the 2 cups of soup. If you’re using a blender make sure to take the plastic plug out of the top of the blender lid. Add this puree and the milk and cream to the mixture. Return to a slow simmer. After another minute or two, remove from heat. Add corn juice and sugar. Don’t add the corn juice when you add the milk, there’s some acid in the juice. Milk and acid don’t mix well; it will turn your chowder into a lumpy cement type affair. Add shredded basil and salt and pepper to taste.
I wasn’t that hungry and I had a small bowl, more of a ramekin. It was good enough that I went back for a refill after I’d finished the first round. Right out of the gate, this is a go to chowder recipe. Quick, simple (for a chowder), and tasting all for the world like something someone spent a day slaving over. Thankfully, it also reheats really well. Like many soups, it’s even better the second time around.
For a nice batch of homemade chowder you’ll need the following:
- 6 Cups Plus 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Small Onion or Shallot – Finely Chopped
- 4 Slices of Nice Bacon – Diced Into Small Pieces
- 2 Teaspoons Minced Fresh Thyme
- 1/3 Cup AP Flour
- 4 and 1/2 Cups Plus 3/4 Cup Water
- 1 Pound of Red Potatoes – 1/4 to 1/3 Inch Dice
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 3/4 Cup Non-Fat Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- Fresh Basil – Shredded
- Salt and Pepper to Taste