Monday Recipe: Tummy Warming Corn Chowder

  By: Kim Bernard


During my recent class at the CIA, one of the dishes that was made by one of the other teams was Corn Chowder.  After the issue we had with the harissa (way too much was added to the lamb meatballs my team made, making them almost too spicy to eat), I was really looking forward to the corn chowder.  Unfortunately this was also too spicy for me to eat and really enjoy.  So I decided to try my hand at it at home, and this time it had a nice spice to it (not too much) and great flavor. So for this edition of Mamatoga Recipes I thought I would share this tummy warming chowder just in time for Halloween.  It can be made before the kids go out trick or treating and then warmed up when they are done.  Serve with some bread and it will make a filling dinner, so filling the kids just might pass up all the treats! The spice level can be adjusted according to what you and your family can tolerate as far as that goes.  But it's nice to have a little spice to balance out the creamy chowder. This recipe calls for fresh corn cut from the cob so that you will have the "milk" from the cob that will help thicken the chowder.  I made mine with frozen corn and it worked just fine. This recipe will make 8 servings.  It can be served as a complete, hearty, tummy warming meal, can be a first course or a nice lunch with a sandwich.  But make no mistake this is a filling chowder. To make the chowder this is what you'll need: 6 ears of corn, shucked or 4 cups of frozen corn kernels 1 cup heavy cream 2 slices of bacon, minced 1 1/4 cups minced onions 1 cup minced red pepper 1/2 cup minced celery 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 6 cups of chicken broth 3 cups of yellow or white potatoes, diced 3 cups chopped tomatoes, peeled and seeded (I used canned diced tomatoes, drained) 1- 4 ounce can green chilies, drained and chopped 1 cup grated Monterey Jack salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Tabasco sauce to taste 1 cup corn tortilla strips, toasted, optional 2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

If using fresh corn, cut the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife, capturing as much of the liquid as possible.  Reserve 3/4 cup of the kernels for later.  If using frozen corn reserve 3/4 cup of the kernels and add the remainder to a food processor with the cream-- puree the corn and the cream together.  Set aside. Cook the bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until crispy.  Add the onion, red pepper, celery and garlic.  Reduce the heat to low and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Add the broth, potatoes and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Skim any fat that may collect on the surface and discard.

Add the pureed corn and cream and the reserved corn kernels, chilies and cheese.  Cook on low heat just until the corn is warmed, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and Tabasco to taste. Serve garnished with tortillas strips and cilantro.

That is the recipe provided by the CIA and found in the Culinary Institute Cookbook.  I've followed this recipe pretty much to the letter, after all they are the CIA and know cooking. But I have to say that I have made a couple of modifications.  When the vegetables are cooking, I season then and also add the chilies.  I also found that using the Tabasco can take away from the creamy, lusciousness of the chowder so for a little spice I use Pepper Jack cheese, not only in the chowder but also as a garnish.  If you'd like to follow the recipe verbatim, feel free.  If you want to make your own modifications, go ahead.

The version made at the CIA.

My version

Whichever you choose, this is a delicious, creamy, kid friendly chowder that is quick to make and reheats well.  Not sure if it will freeze just because it never lasts that long at my house.
NEXT WEEK:  Ever wonder what to do with all that Halloween candy?
Check out more from Kim at her blog From My Corner of Saratoga