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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Corn Chowder


Corn Chowder is one of those comfort foods I can eat at any time.  If you like milk or cream based soups this is the soup for you.  

Corn chowder conjures up memories of Mom making this for a quick meal, especially if Dad wouldn't be home for dinner.  Dad didn't like soup so we usually had it when he was working through dinner.   I can see Mom boiling the potatoes and onions together, telling us it wouldn't take long to cook and we'd be eating as soon as the potatoes were soft.  Mom would finish off the chowder with a "lump" of butter, which was a healthy sized soup spoonful of butter stirred in just before the soup was served.   My sister and I loved it and still do and have been making it for our own children for years.

When my boys were young, I would make corn chowder for dinner when we needed something hot, quick and filling.  When Mom came to live with me corn chowder was always a welcome item on the menu, especially after a long day of shopping (which she loved to do).  We'd have supper on the table in no time.  And it's always a treat to open the fridge and find a bowl of left-over chowder because it just gets thicker and tastier the day after it's made.

Over the years, in an attempt to increase the vitamin content for two growing boys, I introduced other vegetables to the mix and often made a Vegetable Corn Chowder.   But whatever way you make it, it's great!  As with any soup, the chowder can be served with sandwiches, rolls or hot biscuits to round out the meal. 

Slightly sweet from the vegetables and corn, stomach filling with potatoes, creamy and mouth satisfying with the evaporated milk, this chowder just hits the spot on a cold winter day.  And if by chance you forget to put in the corn, it still makes a great potato soup!

Corn Chowder
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced, about 2 cups
1 large onion, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups water (1 cup for a thicker chowder)
1 teaspoon salt*
1 large can cream style corn
1 cup frozen corn niblets
1- 370 ml (12 fl. oz.) can evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter, optional but nice

In a medium pot, gently sauté the onions for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add potatoes and continue to cook together another 5 minutes.  When the onions start to soften add the water and salt and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes until potatoes are just about soft.  

Add the cream style corn and frozen corn niblets and bring back to a simmer.  Stir occasionally.  Add the evaporated milk and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  Do not boil as the milk will curdle.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and float the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter on top of chowder.  

Serve with fresh rolls, hot biscuits or your favourite sandwich.

Makes 4-6 servings.

*Sometimes I use a vegetarian "chicken" bouillon cube in place of the salt. 

Corn and Vegetable Chowder
Add 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables when boiling the potato and onions. 

Corn and Carrot Chowder
Add 1 large shredded carrot when boiling the potato and onions.


Peel and dice potatoes and onion.  Sauté onions for 5 minutes then add the potatoes.  Pour in 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer.  Cook about 10 minutes or until potatoes are just getting soft.


 The next three ingredients, evaporated milk, frozen corn and cream style corn, finish the chowder.

Add the frozen corn to the simmering potatoes and bring the mixture back to a simmer and then add the cream style corn.


Pour in a can of full fat evaporated milk and simmer for the last 10 minutes.  Do not let the mixture boil because the milk will curdle.  


Mom always stirred in a "lump" of butter to the finished pot of chowder.  A "lump" of butter in this instance is a well-rounded tablespoon. The "lump" is a well established unit of  measurement if you are acquainted with old cookbooks of the 19th and early 20th century.


 

The warm creamy chowder thick with corn, potatoes and onion.  Mmmmmm....so satisfying!

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