Sunday, May 5, 2013

Corn Chowder


Here is my recipe for May that was published in last week's The Hinton Voice (my local newspaper). 

 [When I was a teenager I used to make "homemade" corn chowder by combining a can of cream of chicken soup with a can of creamed corn.  It was quick, easy, and in my teenage opinion, tasted great.  Corn chowder is still one of my favorite kinds of soup, and I make it often - though now I’ve traded in cans of pre-made items for fresh ingredients.

The key to any good soup is sautéing the vegetables first.  This not only deepens the vegetables flavors, it also cuts down on the overall cooking time by enabling the vegetables to cook faster.  I’ll never forget the time I tried to skip this step and boiled the vegetables directly in the creamy base instead.  It was during my husband and I’s early days of marriage and we had invited all of my in-laws over for dinner (of course this couldn’t have happened while we were dining solo).  The last time I made soup for company it was proclaimed, “the best soup they had ever had” so I was fairly confident that another soup would be well received.  I was in a bit of a hurry so I figured I could just boil the veggies in the milk and call it a day.  Worst. Idea. Ever.  No matter how long I cooked the soup, the vegetables just wouldn’t turn soft.  I turned the heat up too high and ended up completely burning the soup (at least the vegetables were cooked though!).  This wouldn’t have been so bad if I would have noticed before I had already served everyone.  By the time I took my first bite, everyone had already started eating.  The second the burnt soup hit my lips I was instantly mortified. Being the kind people that they are, no one said anything to me and just politely continued to eat their dinner.  Needless to say, no one went back for seconds and I’m pretty sure I saw someone devouring the remainder of the extra toppings that were sitting on the table. To this day my sister in law swears she doesn’t remember the time I burned the soup. My theory is that it was so awful she may have perhaps blocked it from her memory (either that or she is still just being really polite about it). 

So now you know why I am always sure to sauté my veggies first whenever making soup.  I am happy to report using this method has enabled the soup to turn out every single time, and now as a rule I always try a quick taste before I serve anything to company.]

Ingredients
-      -   ½ cup crumbled bacon (optional)
-      -   1 tbsp butter
-      -   2 lbs baby red potatoes (or 4 medium)
-       -  ½ onion, chopped
-      -   4 ears of corn (or 3 cups frozen)
-      -   2 cups chicken broth
-       -  3 cups milk
-       -  salt & pepper to taste
-       -  fresh chives, for garnish


Directions

Pre-heat a large saucepan over medium heat and fry chopped bacon.  Set cooked bacon aside, and wipe out pan with paper towel. 

Chop potatoes into small cubes and sauté in butter until lightly translucent (about 5-7 minutes). 

Add chopped onions and corn, cooking until onions are tender.   Stir in broth and milk, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.   Turn down heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until soup has thickened to desired consistency.

Add salt & pepper and garnish with chives and reserved bacon.


- Nutritional Info (1 cup) -

Calories - 189   Fat - 7    Carbs – 25     Protein - 8   Fibre – 2
 
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