10/29/11

Recipe Test: Corn & Cheese Chowder

While I hesitate to post this without a picture, I didn't take one.  Still, this soup was so good, and with the weather cold and drizzly, it went down snugly in our tummies.  (Sorry . . . schmaltzy, I know.  But it illustrates a point, doesn't it?)

This is one of Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman) recipes.  Hers made enough to serve 12, however, and since we are a mere 2 around here, I cut the recipe in half.  The amounts were not the most conducive to dividing, and so I just winged it and used ingredients I had on hand.  I offer it up here to those of you looking for something simple for dinner.  This is a great recipe for throwing in whatever leftovers you have in your fridge, which is exactly what I did.  Here's my adaptation of The Pioneer Woman's recipe.

Corn & Cheese Chowder
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 slices bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 bell peppers, finely diced (red, yellow, or orange)
12 oz. frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bread Boules

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Cook onions until slightly softened.  Add bacon and cook for a few minutes, then add diced bell pepper and cook until beginning to soften.  Add corn and cook for another minute.

Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine.  Pour in broth and stir well.  Allow this to thicken for 3-4 minutes, then reduce heat to low.  Stir in half-and-half, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for about 15 minutes.

Stir in cheese and green onions.  When cheese is melted and soup is hot, add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into hollowed out boules, top with a little grated cheese and some of the sliced green onions, and serve immediately.

My notes about the recipe:  The Pioneer woman suggests a combination of Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack cheese.  I happened to have the tailings of a package of grated colby-cheddar and cheddar on hand, and so that's what I used.  Also, I didn't have quite enough half-and-half, and so I just used what I and poured in the last little bit of some heavy cream to make up the difference.  You could also use milk or even chicken broth to make up the difference.  Want to make this a vegetarian dish?  Use vegetable broth and leave out the bacon.  Want to make it vegan?  Sorry, I don't have any suggestions about that, except to make something else.  This would also be good with small-diced potato and peas.  The more you add, the more liquid you'll need to add to keep it soupy.

If you're not familiar with a bread boule, this is what they look like.


They're about the size of half a volleyball.  I found them in the bakery section of my regular grocery store.  You simply cut a sliver off the top, then hollow out the bread inside.  I used a short serrated blade to cut the largest hunk from the center, then used a spoon to hollow it out the rest of the way.  Just be careful not to cut through the crust.  It's not difficult, but if you'd like more instruction, click here

At $1.98 per boule, I thought they were overly expensive.  Next time, I'll try making my own.  I found a recipe here, but I haven't tried it yet.  On the other hand, one's time is worth something, so if you're short on time, definitely check the bakery section.  And on the other, other hand ( do you need three hands for that?), a bowl out of your cupboard works just fine too!  Just serve it up with some sort of bread for sopping up all of its deliciousness and enjoy!

2 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

I love corn chowder and cheese-yumm yumm. We will be having this soon in my house I can just tell.

quiltzyx said...

I saw that one PW - it does look good in her pictures. ;)
I've never had corn chowder...it reminds me too much of cream corn. (My Mom LOVED that, but it makes me shiver) Strange - I love corn on & off the cob, but add cream...eeewww!