Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cookish: What's for dinner?

Corn chowder
4 ears of corn
1 small onion
1 carrot
2 large red potatoes
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
chicken stock

Chop up the onion and carrot and begin to sweat in a pan with some olive oil. (Alternatively, you can brown some bacon in the pan and cook the onion and carrot in the bacon drippings. Mmm...bacon.)

Cut the kernels off of the ears of corn. An easy way to do this and catch the kernels is to put a small bowl inside a larger bowl, rest the cob on top of the small bowl and cut down. You can also use a bundt pan to do this, sticking the cob in the middle, but I don't have a bundt pan.

Put the corn in with the onion and carrot and grate in the garlic. Add a small splash of stock to help the corn cook. Add salt and pepper

Meanwhile, put the corn cobs in a pot and cover with stock (or water). Boil for about 15 minutes, to get all the flavor from the cobs. I think it was 3-4 cups. I used some homemade stock I had in the freezer. This is really easy, honestly. The next time you get a rotisserie chicken or roast a chicken, save the bones. Put them in a pot with another water to cover. Add a carrot, celery (if you have it), an onion, a clove or two of garlic, some sal & pepper, thyme, oregano, bay leaves--basically whatever herbs you want, and then bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn it down and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Strain out all of the stuff and you've got some tasty stock on your hands. It takes almost no effort, just time, and you paid for the chicken--you might as well get everything out of it.

Back to the soup. Remove the cobs from the stock. At this point, I would add about half of the corn mixture and blend until smooth, then add the rest of the corn so the soup is chunky but not too chunky....except that my hand blender died on me, so all the corn went in as is.
Chop up the potatoes into bite-sized chunks and boil in the soup until tender. (Likewise, you could blend up the potatoes in the soup or leave them as chunks...or leave them out all together.) Once the potatoes are done, mix a bit of the broth with some cornstarch and then pour into the soup. Bring the soup back to a boil and let boil for a minute or two so the cornstarch can thicken the soup a bit. Take the soup off the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of cream (again, this is optional, but I had cream on hand, so why not?)

There you go! You could easily add chicken, crab, crawfish, or shrimp to this. It would be tasty. You could also leave out the potatoes, add some chiles and perhaps some black beans and you'll have a tex-mex corn soup.

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