The Perfect Corn Chowder

So, here’s the thing, I’m very much a “pinch of this” and “dash of that” or “whoops, too much this so I should add a little of that” type of cook. When I have recipes, I’m not slavishly following them (which explains why I don’t bake too often ; ). When I don’t have a recipe, I just pour and dump with abandon, believing that all will turn out well.

After a year or two of pouring and dumping with less than stellar results, I did have to learn some cooking basics via my mom, cook books, Food Network and ALOT of time reading through some pretty amazing food blogs. (I love food blogs ya’ll.)

As I’ve learned, I’ve come to love the task of cooking. I love buying new cookbooks. I love making menus. I love shopping for food.

But mostly, I love feeding people.

If you’ve eaten food from my kitchen, then that was me saying, “I care about you.” Maybe we recently became neighbors, maybe I heard that you just had a baby, maybe you’re moving and need one less thing to think about or maybe I just invited you to my house for dinner…in any of these cases, please sit so I can feed you : )

In many ways, cooking has been a type of therapeutic activity for me, especially this past year. Switching from guard to active duty was emotionally draining and sometime my kitchen became the place I retreated to in order to cope. Yes, I spent alot of money this year trying new recipes and exploring new groccery stores and food markets. [And, as a quick aside to my OH friends; have you been to Dorothy Lane Market?! Go. Soon. It’s amazing(ly expensive…as Paul would say : ) but totally worth it.] Cooking has also been a way for me to make new friends and serve my fellow Air Force families. It has given me an easy way to have purpose and feel useful during a time when life was a little chaotic.

Anyway, whenever I need to take dinner to someone, this soup is my go-to recipe. Add a bagged salad mix, a loaf of bread and boom, the perfect meal to drop off at someones house. The soup is easy to make, easy to transport and can be kept in the fridge for whenever it’s needed most. I almost always have the ingredients on hand. The recipe itself came from my head one fateful day when, realizing that dinner time was an hour away and I had not three but just one can of Progresso corn chowder in my pantry, I stood there thinking, “ACK! I need more!!”

Isn’t desperation the best way to come up with recipes?

Since that time, I’ve fiddled with this dish alot. I tend to do that with many things – mac and cheese, pies, soups, short ribs, BBQ – you name it. This is fun, but it makes sharing my recipes a little difficult. Nonetheless, I’ve had many people ask for this particular recipe so last week I finally took pictures of the process. Now I  have something to send to people who want it.

I hope that you make it and I hope that you love it. And please feel free to do some “fiddling” of you own. If you find something amazing, let me know and I’ll try it too : )


Chicken Corn Chowder (Makes 4 mason jars of soup)

Ingredients:

3 cups of fresh corn (if not in season, use frozen corn) 

3 cups of gold potatoes (give or take based on how much you like potatoes) 

Fresh chives

Meat from one rotisserie chicken (you can use pre-shredded chicken if your groccery store sells this.)

Half-package of bacon if eating at home, package of bacon bits if giving it away. 

1 can of sweet corn

1 can of creamed corn 

2.5-3 cups of chicken broth 

1.5-2 cups of heavy cream

Package of cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheddar shredded : ) 

pinch-.5 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

salt and fresh ground pepper as desired (I like alot of pepper)

Instructions: 

1) Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for you potatoes. Dice the potatoes into about inch sized cubes and let them boil for about 5 minutes or until just soft (unless you like crunchy potatoes…just adjust the time as needed : ) (And I’m sorry I have no picture….hadn’t occurred to me that I should photography the culinary journey at that point : )

2) Ok, the corn. Right now the corn in OH is A-mazing. I used three cobs for this batch of soup. It’s really up to you, but the more you add the larger your batch will be : )  IMG_5678-001

3) Next, combine the fresh corn and the chicken broth in a large (very large! I love my dutch oven for this!!) pot on the stove. Turn to medium heat. You want the fresh corn to be cooking.  IMG_5494 (1)-001

4) While the broth and corn are heating, shred the chicken and dice the meat into an eatable size and then add it to the broth and corn base. IMG_5495-001

5) Next, add the drained potatoes to the base. IMG_5497-001

6) Now, add your two cans of corn. Don’t drain the cans as that water has alot of “corny” flavor to add!! IMG_5498-002

7) Once that is all mixed together, add the heavy cream, caynne pepper, salt and ground pepper. You can go nuts with the ground pepper, but have an easy hand with the salt. Taste as you go, I’ve made the mistake of over salting. And remember you serve this soup with (very salty, very wonderful) bacon. IMG_5499 (1)-001

8) Let the soup come to a very low boil, while stirring. You don’t want the cream to get bubbly (I don’t know the correct term for this – but you shouldn’t turn your back at the boiling heavy cream stage!) Once it has simmered for, oh, 1-2 minutes, bring the temp down to low and let it sit until everything tastes right : ) No crunchy potatoes, no raw corn, perfectly seasoned. Then chop up your chives and add it right before you want to put the soup into the mason jars. IMG_5500-001

9) Yum.IMG_5502-001

10) I serve the soup with cheddar cheese and bacon bits when I take this as a meal. When making it at home, I cook half a package of bacon (I do it in the oven) and crumble it right before dinner. Don’t worry if the cream and broth separate as the soup settles in the jar. A quite shake or stir with mix the two right back up : ) IMG_5503-001

So there it is! Eat it, love it and share it often : )

-Liz


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