Thursday, August 29, 2013

Smoky Creamy Corn Chowder


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A couple weeks ago I attended a dinner party at a friends house. The meal was made from meat, vegetables and fruit that the hosts had raised and grown right there on their own land. It was served family style around a huge table that comfortably fit the 15 who attended. The food was absolutely delicious.

Of all the tasty items that were prepared, one stood out – the sweet corn. The flavor was succulent and seemed to burst forth with each bite. I couldn’t control myself and ended up eating three huge servings.

After the dinner I complimented my friend on the great meal and excellent corn. His Dad had been growing that particular variety, Illini Xtra Sweet, since he was a kid. They usually stagger two or three plantings a couple weeks apart so they have corn to pick fresh for dinner for a long stretch during the summer. He gave me a few ears as a parting gift and I used it in this smoky corn chowder. It’s a tasty soup, but this variety of corn is off the hook all on its own.

BEHIND THIS BITE
Smoky Creamy Corn Chowder

The entire meal at my friends house was a step back into the past. The last time I had eaten a family-style meal of made-from-scratch, farm-raised ingredients was at my great grand parents more than 30 years ago. My great grandmother was a home maker and great grandfather a farmer. They raised and grew all of their own food and were able to provide for seven healthy children. That sort of life-style seemed to have disappeared with the rise of Walmarts and superstores of the modern day.

It was refreshing to have dinner at my friends house with a large group of comrades in this old-fashion style. The hosts really appreciated the farmed-raised and fresh grown aspects of a good meal, it was evident by the preparation. There were no fancy spice rubs or compound butters, just fresh food prepared perfectly. A humble meal free from pretense and full of great flavor. This is how the Great Spirit intended for us to eat.

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Smoky Creamy Corn Chowder

Make 4 quarts; 45 minutes
8 strips Bacon diced
1/2 large Onion, diced
1 Red pepper, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 C Flour
6 C Chicken broth
3 C Potatoes, diced
1 Tbs Fresh thyme
3 C Corn, fresh cooked or canned
2 C Heavy cream

Render bacon
In a soup pot over medium heat sauté bacon until cooked through and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon.

Sauté vegetables, add flour
Add onion and red pepper to pot and cook in bacon drippings until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Sift in flour and stir until mixed thoroughly. Allow mixture to cook for 2 minutes once combined.

Add broth, cook potatoes
Add chicken broth, potatoes and thyme. Return bacon to pot. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

Add corn, finish
Reduce heat and add corn and heavy cream, bring to a simmer and cook until corn is heated through, 6 to 8 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon into a bowl and serve.

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