A week without posting is like a week without…
Well, I don’t know, but I apologize and I’m back. With an Ina recipe. I know, I know, she’s pretty much all I make, but I waited 7 full-recipe posts before this one. I thought you all might need a break.
This soup is my all-time favorite savory Ina recipe. Hands-down. Best.
Cheddar Corn Chowder. When I made this for my then-fiance, he told me “Well, I don’t really like corn and I don’t really like chowder, but this soup is really good.” And in my world, that’s a winner.
People have had some issues with consistency, but folks, I’m here to clear that up for you. The trick is to really let the soup simmer, almost even boil, uncovered, to reduce all that chicken stock. Your soup may also be too thin if you use anything less than half and half. That’s just silly! This soup is not for those who are afraid of calories. Embrace the half and half. Embrace the cheddar. It makes the soup rich.
I’ve adapted the recipe to make about half of what Ina calls for, but you could follow it precisely if you needed to feed a crowd. Then you can adapt it, adding more of what you like, because I am certain you will make this again and again.
Ina’s Cheddar Corn Chowder
4 oz. bacon
2 large onions, chopped
2T unsalted butter
2 T flour
¼ t ground turmeric (give it a nice little hint of flavor and a much deeper golden color)
chicken stock (6 cups-ish)
3-4 C bite-sized diced boiling potatoes (I use Yukon Golds)
10 oz. frozen corn (you can use fresh in the summer)
1 C half and half
6 oz shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
OK, hang on to your hats…
In a large stockpot, or a nice Le Creuset if you’ve just gotten married and happen to have a couple, cook the bacon.
Set aside on a plate with some paper towels to collect the grease. Tear the bacon into smaller pieces when it’s cool enough to handle.
Now, there is a lot of bacon grease in your pot. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Add your onions and butter, and cook for 10 minutes. I usually add a little salt and pepper here. The onions will take on the smoky, bacony flavor. Lucky you.
Stir in the flour (I have no idea what kind of roux you are making by stirring it in way after the butter), a little more salt and pepper, and the turmeric, and stir the mixture around for about 3 minutes. That’s going to let the flour-taste work its way out of the soup.
Next, add the potoatoes and enough chicken stock to cover them by about ½ inch. That’s the secret to the stock. Bring the stock to a boil, and then simmer (let’s call it an aggressive simmer) for an additional 15 minutes. Do not put yourself on the timer until your stock is at a rolling boil.
Add the corn, half and half and Cheddar and cook the soup, stirring, for 5 more minutes.
Ladle the soup into a bowl. Remember that bacon? Drop some on top for garnish. Some extra grated Cheddar works well here too!
What’s my favorite sweet Ina recipe, you ask? Lemon bars. But we’ll get to that another day…