Chowdah

I grew up in Massachusetts. Where the chowder comes from.

I like to make it with halibut and waxy Yukon Gold potatoes.  I like to make it with clams.  I like Deborah Madison’s recipe for Winter Vegetable Chowder.  I like to make it with salmon, sweet potatoes, and broccoli based on a recipe I cut out of Real Simple one time.

Today I made it with corn, red potatoes, and poblano peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 slices of good quality bacon, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 small red potatoes, diced into small cubes, skins on
  • Kernels from 2-3 ears corn (scrape off the kernels with a knife)
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 28 oz of chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half & half.
  • bay leaf, thyme, sage, black pepper shaken into a coffee filter and tied off with kitchen twine (or dental floss, if you’re me) into a bouquet garni
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped, whites and part of the greens
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cook the bacon in its own fat in a heavy soup pot.  Remove crispy bits.
  2. You should have a good tablespoon of bacon fat in the bottom of the pot. Cook the onion in this over low heat until translucent.
  3. Add the potatoes, corn, and poblano pepper and stir.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Shake in a little salt.
  4. Add the chicken broth.  Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. In the meantime,  in a small saucepan, pour in the cream and toss in the bouquet garni.  Break the stick of celery in half and add it, along with the chopped scallions.
  6. Holding the corn cobs over the saucepan, run the back of your knife down the cob and squeeze out the liquid. It’s tasty.
  7. Bring cream to a boil with these aromatics, then reduce heat and let everything sit and get friendly while the soup cooks.
  8. Take out the bouquet garni and celery before combining the cream with the rest of the soup.  Let cook for 3-5 more minutes.  Add the crispy bacon bits and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with crusty bread.

Variations:

  • If poblano peppers are not your thing, some shredded swiss chard wilted in near the end of cooking (when you add the cream) will add some fresh green to the soup.
  • Vegetarians can substitute olive oil for the bacon parts, obviously.
  • Corn is still in season here, so I used fresh.  In the dead of winter, I would substitute frozen corn.
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3 responses to “Chowdah

  1. That looks amazing!…but potentially too advanced for my kitchen skills…I’m not good when there’s more than like, two steps.

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