Sunday, January 18, 2015

Corn Chowder--Super Easy, Super Good!

Every year at Christmas my boss makes her famous corn chowder. Everyone in our department anticipates the day when we have our holiday lunch because we know she'll make way more than we can possibly eat, although we try our best to do just that, because we know it will be another long year before we get another taste.

Well this year, I summoned my courage and asked if she'd be willing to share the recipe and she was delighted to do so. The only problem was that the copier didn't get the amounts of the ingredients and I didn't notice in time to rectify the situation. Uh oh! I was bereft at first, thinking I'd lost my opportunity, but then I thought surely I could make something at least similar. So into the kitchen I went and started to experiment.

The recipe I'm about to share with you is my own, but based in large part on my boss's recipe. (For instance, I wouldn't have thought to include cream cheese in the soup.) She originally got the recipe from a local restaurant that is no longer in business, and unfortunately I can't remember the name of said restaurant, so there's no way I can give kudos to the anonymous cook.(*See Note at end of this post.) But I think you'll be glad that the original recipe didn't go down with the closing of the doors.
I love how colorful this chowder is!

Corn Chowder

1/4 cup butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed in small dices
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (you can use water if desired)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp. dill weed
1 1/2 cups half and half or cream (or a combination)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups canned corn, drained (or you can use frozen  corn)

The first thing you want to do is take out the cream cheese from the refrigerator and let it sit in a small mixing bowl so it's room temperature (or thereabouts) when you go to use it later in the process.

In a fairly large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the butter until onion is translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots, and chicken broth and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through. Add a bit of water or broth if it boils down very much, although this isn't absolutely necessary.

While the veggies are simmering, mix together the cream cheese and diced tomatoes; use a fork to smash the cream cheese into the tomatoes. Here's what my bowl looked like when I was done with this step:
Cream cheese and tomato roux

When the veggies are cooked through, add the cream cheese mixture, dill, half and half, cheddar cheese, and corn and stir until cheeses are melted. Let the soup warm on low heat for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, but make sure it doesn't every boil.
Finished chowder heating on stove

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve it up!

This chowder is very rich and can easily feed a family of four, but if you have lots of people to feed, or if you have extra hungry eaters (like a couple of teenage boys!), you can easily double the recipe.

Try it. I think you'll like it!

Blessings to you and yours,

* The name of the little café was the Jazz Station, and the owner and chef was Gary Wilson. He had a flair for taste combinations, I'll give him that!

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