Archive for October, 2010

Heritage Corn Chowder

It is harvest time and soup season has begun!  This year, my sister grew some Golden Bantam corn – an old heirloom variety that Burpee started selling in 1902.  It was the first yellow “sweet corn” popularly grown – before Golden Bantam, yellow corn was used almost exclusively for animal feed.  It is not as sweet and tender as today’s super-bred versions of corn, but it has a nice meaty texture and makes for a yummy chowder.  I like my chowder a little thinner, so I use the smaller amount of butter and flour in the recipe, but if you like your chowder really thick, use the larger amounts.  By using milk and thickening the soup with flour and not cream, the soup is a little healthier as well.  Not heavy, but just rich enough, this vegetarian version of corn chowder is perfect for a cool fall day.

Corn Chowder

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons butter (use larger amount for thicker soup)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (use larger amount for thicker soup)
  • 3 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 8 ounces (1/2 lb) potatoes, peeled if desired, and finely diced  (starchy potatoes like Russets will make for a creamier soup, waxy ones like Yukon Golds will be firmer and the soup will be thinner)
  • 3 cups corn kernels, either fresh or frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste (If using prepared stock, you will most likely not need to add any salt)
  • Milk, to taste – approximately 1/4-1/2 cup

Melt butter in a large pot.  Add diced onions and celery and cook over medium heat 6-8 minutes, or until soft but not browned.  Add flour, stir to combine completely and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until bubbly (to cook away the raw flour taste and make a roux for thickening the soup).  After the roux (flour and butter mixture) has cooked, gradually whisk in the stock and stir until smooth (there will still be the chinks of onion and celery, but the liquid should be smooth).  Add potatoes, corn, thyme, parsley and bay leaf.  Season to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender 15-30 minutes, depending on the size and type of potato.  Mixture should seem a little thicker than you’d like it, as adding the milk will thin it out.  If the soup is too thin, raise the heat and boil uncovered until it reduces to the thickness you desire.  Add milk until the preferred consistency is reached and check the seasoning.  Gently heat soup up on medium heat until it reaches desired temperature.  Serves 4 as a main course.  Will last 4-5 days, refrigerated.  If desired, garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions or parsley.

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