Saturday, November 12, 2005

Korn Chowda

In February 2004, a certain someone was having a birthday and we decided to have a soup party. This was a great idea...I made three soups and had garnishes for each of them, so everyeone could serve up how they wanted. And I made enough for each person to try each soup, if they wanted. I had made my families Chicken Dumpling Soup, Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Corn Chowder.

Corn Chowder
(enough for at least four with leftovers, could easily serve six without)

4 cups of frozen corn
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of chopped garlic
2 TB butter
1 TB Olive Oil
2 Green Bell Peppers, diced (perhaps one green and one red for added color)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Celery Salt
2 Bay Leaves
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups of stock (chicken or veggie)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk

In a large pot, sauté the chopped onions in butter and olive oil over medium high heat, until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, cayenne, celery salt, bay leaves, cook for about one minute. Stir in chopped bell pepper. Cook for about two minutes. Combine corn and potatoes, cook for one minute. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Reduce heat to low, stir in cream and milk. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves and serve. Have available some hot sauce or cayenne to bring up the heat level per each person’s desirable level. Serve with bread.


1. I used a dried vegetable bouillon that needed to be "cooked" in water. Once the bouillon was boiling, I added the discarded parts of the onions and peppers (not the seed sack) to add a bit more flavor. I also added a small chunk of potato (and some peels). This will help to draw out some of the extra ‘saltiness’ that comes with prepared/packaged stocks/broths. Remove these items before adding the stock to the sautéed vegetables. I like to add about one extra cup of chicken stock to the vegetable stock, for another layer of flavor-but then it's not veggie friendly

2. I thickened up the chowder, just a small bit, after I added the cream and milk. One small mistake, because the chowder was just simmering…read on. I knew that the chowder was going to be a bit more ‘watery’ than I wanted, so I should have added a bit of cornstarch slurry before the cream and milk. Take one TB of cornstarch and about one TB of water, mix to combine, then add to the boiling soup. The cornstarch reacts to boiling water (not simmering) and will thicken the soup slightly. At this point, make sure to lower the heat to a simmer before adding the cream and milk.

3. You do not want to add cream or milk to boiling water. It can quickly separate and take on a curdled appearance and become unappetizing—I wouldn’t eat it, so I don’t know what it would do to the taste. I don’t know a quick fix for this problem, so you need to make sure that the soup is not boiling. The same goes for reheating any leftovers, slower bring to a simmer.

4. Seasoning/salting: When I add the onions, I add a pinch of salt. When I added the peppers, a bit of salt. Potatoes and Corn, more salt. Doing this makes sure that each layer’s flavors are amplified. Adding salt all at once, at the end, will make the chowder taste more salty than it actually is. And this being a bunch of ‘bland’ (corn, potatoes, cream, milk) ingredients, you will want to make sure to do this step.

5. Add ins: if I were to add chicken, I would do that after the soup comes to a boil, before adding the cream and milk—allowing about 8 minutes for the chicken to cook. Seafood: about three or four minutes before lowering the heat and adding the cream and milk. (again, don’t boil that chowder with the dairy.)


DC Food Blog said...

That sounds divine. Comfort food in a bowl. I'll have to remember thei dea of a soup party. Perfect for the winter.

Stef said...

that's funny, I was just telling the story of your soup party the other night. (My newlywed friends got 3 crockpots as gifts at the wedding and were trying to figure out what to do with them...) It was *ALL* delicious! It would be hard to pick an absolute favorite, but I think that red pepper one was particularly deelish.

ScottE. said...

The soup party is a great idea. Everything can be made in advance, so the host totally gets to enjoy the party and alot of soups can be bulked up and made for more people very easily. I highly recommend it. And to make it super easy, you just need a few stacks of paper/plastic bowls and 'cutlery.'

Some extra bread and some good're set!