11.14.2008

corn-fed

I have spent the entire day in bed, and not for fun reasons. No, I have been swaddled in my down comforter because I feel like moderate-level death. (High-level death involves throwing up and being unable to stand under my own power. Moderate-level death involves weakness, aches, and angry badgers living in one's throat and head.)

Although I'm absolutely certain that no doctor would ever advise me to eat a lot of creamy, bacony, cheesy soup as a remedy, once I got the idea of corn chowder in my head, it would not leave me alone. Some half-hearted searching led me to this Ina Garten recipe, which I then played with a bit. Happily, I was able to drag myself to the grocery for ingredients and get home before anyone I know saw me wearing snowflake-print fleece pajama pants in public with a ratty, cat-hair-covered hoodie. (Yes, I thought about this before deciding to get groceries. I might be ill, but I am also endlessly vain.)

Cheddar Corn Chowder, with my notes in italic:
I made only about half the recipe, as I only had about 3/4 of a bag of frozen corn kernels. Plus, I didn't want to buy four little pints of heavy cream, because they're expensive.

8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions) (I am anti-onion, so I went with two large shallots and diced them into miniscule bits so I could get yummy flavor without the oniony texture)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (I used about a pat, because I probably used more bacon than called for- surprise, surprise- and was pleased with that amount of fat already in the pan.)
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (I used cumin, as I didn't have tumeric, and also because I love cumin.)
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds) (I hate potatoes. I skipped right over this step. Potatoes are an abominable tuber.)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half (Dude, this is expensive. Plus, I've never had good luck with half-and-half in a recipe- it always tends to break. So I would've gone for heavy cream, but heavy cream is also expensive. I just bought a half-quart of whole milk and winged it.)
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. (I didn't feel it necessary to pour olive oil over bacon.) Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter (now, time for olive oil! I somehow had no qualms about adding butter AND olive oil to a bunch of bacon drippings) to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, (no potatoes for me, so I went right ahead to the "add corn" step.) 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. (I put the bacon back in the soup along with the cheddar. If I have a bowl of crispy bacon pieces around the kitchen, just waiting to be used as a garnish, they're going to be used as a snack first.)


I have eaten two bowls of this already. This much dairy is probably a very bad idea, but it was also an extremely tasty idea.

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