Saturday, August 18, 2007
It's August. It's raining. It's time for chowder.
So here's what had to happen today: corn chowder. It makes great use of some of my favorite summer ingredients (sweet corn, red bell pepper, sweet onions, smooth potatoes, and basil) and it's pretty economical. Instead of using bacon for traditional smokiness, I used smoked cheddar for smokiness. It was surprisingly different. The slight sweetness of the basil works well with the cheese, I think.
Corn Chowder with Basil and Smoked Cheddar
(adapted from "Jalapeno Corn Chowder" by Paulette Mitchell)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 russet or all-purpose potatoes, peeled & diced
corn kernels cut from 3 ears of corn (about 2 cups)
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, carrot, and garlic, and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the basil. Turn off the heat. If you have an immersion blender, add the milk, and partially blend the soup, leaving some texture according to your preference. If you have a standing blender, transfer 2 cups of soup to the blender, add the milk, and puree. Return the puree to the soup pot afterwards. Still off-heat, stir in the grated cheddar cheese. Return the soup to a servable temperature over a very low flame. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (I add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper).
This'll serve 4 regular people or 2-3 super-hungry people. Easy to multiply the recipe, though.