Thursday, October 8, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - Cheddar Corn Chowder

The Barefoot Bloggers are cooking soup this week - a cheddar corn chowder as chosen by Jill of My Next Life and which is featured in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 74.

So I skimmed through the recipe, and it seemed fairly straightforward - cheese, corn and potatoes (for the chowder part I presumed). This was going to be interesting because while those were flavors I enjoyed, technically, I'm not a soup person. I'm just saying...

But armed with the fairly simple list of ingredients I decided to make this soup today, and really read the recipe. And realized some pertinent things.
Like Ina likes to feed all of Long Island when she makes soup. Twelve cups of chicken stock and ten cups of corn kernels?
The potatoes go in unpeeled.
Ay carumba...
I just had regular potatoes so I peeled and diced them. What is a white boiling potato anyway? I need to do some more detective work on the potato aisle next time.
And the bacon. All of the bacon. It's FRIED (Hallelujah), and then it disappears from the recipe and reappears as the garnish. Errmmm....Bacon needs to give its agent a call I thought, what a waste. But then I realized that bacon was kind of sacrificial in this soup, it was for the greater good because the bacon fat that is rendered is then what makes the base of the soup.

Slightly alarmed, but a little wiser, I made the soup. And instead of halving the recipe, I fifth'ed it. And invented that new word in the process *beaming*.
And the husband licked the bowl clean and asked for more.
I'm so glad I took part in this challenge. This soup is not thick like New England seafood chowders and I'm HAPPY about that! The thickness of regular chowder is a slight put-off factor for me. The soup is simple, its flavors are succint, its warm and comforting, and perfect for the crisp months that lie ahead for us! On some personal notes, I further reduced the quantity of cheese and half-and-half regardless of my fifth'ing (there she goes again!) because I did not want to overpower the overall taste or make the soup too dense.
I have a new soup recipe in my arsenal. If I make the entire quantity, it would be great as a party starter in cooler months, or I can feed the troops before I wage war on the tony suburb next door. Oops, did I just say that out loud?
Cheddar Corn Chowder

8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.


Jaya Wagle said...

Fifthed it! Girl, you are getting more creative by the day. And just when I thought you couldn't top off the shark pickle, you go and use bacon fat and add 1/2 stick of butter to it!!!!. Wow! My heart is fluttering just thinking of the original recipe multiplied by 5. No offense to your division skills, I would have tenthed the butter and skipped the bacon. But apart from that, the recipe actually sounds good.
PS: Still friends, right?

VS said...

Looks so yum Ann!

Kate said...

Looks great, and I'm with you -- I don't want a chowder that can double as mortar for masonry, so in addition to thinning overall, I used most of the cheese on top, rather than in the base.

Lakshmi -Celebrations said...

nice blog.well done

Me! said...

I assume she meant a baking potato so a white starchy potato that breaks down a bit in the soup. That's what I used anyway. I quartered the recipe and I've moved some to the freezer at this point because I'm never gonna finish it. My math skills are not good enough to fifth a recipe. I cut back the oil, bacon, left out the butter and used milk rather than half and half and it's still really rich.