Recipies · Soups

Potato Corn Chowder

For the life of me I can’t remember where I picked up this recipe.  The only thing I remember is being MEZMORIZED by the aroma of simmering onion, celery, and fresh thyme… Most soups call for the mire poix to be onions, celery, and carrots, but this  one with it’s savory thyme is a lovely scent that will waft through your house as you make it.  People will come in from the out-of-doors, children will put down the PS5, you will be unable to resist the urge to sip the molten soup from a wooden spoon as it comes together on the stove.

Although it is a potato-based soup (read: high carbs), it’s fairly low in fat – and high in nutrients.  It’s terrific in the early fall when you can still get fresh corn, but I always crave it in the cold of winter.  The difference between fresh and frozen is noticeable, but not enough to keep me away!  Make enough to have some for lunch leftovers – your co-workers will be jealous,

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, sliced longways and chopped small
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (1 Tbsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup good quality beer, ale or lager
  • 5-6 large yellow potatoes, peel and 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen, canned in a pinch
    (if you don’t have corn, use black-eyed peas)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water, hot from the tap
  • Green Tobasco sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Heat up a large frying pan on the stove, medium heat. Add onions, celery, and thyme with a pinch of salt.  Stir to coat everything with oil/butter and cook until onions are softened.  About 7 minutes.

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The celery won’t fully soften, but that’s good,  It gives your finished soup some crunch.  When everything is cooked to your liking, add your half a beer.  Use something that comes in a bottle.  Use something that costs more than $1 each. It should be dark, but not a porter (that would affect the color).  Keep simmering until the beer is all but boiled away.  Turn off the heat and set aside.  Then drink the other half of your beer.

Bring a 2-3 quart saucepan full of water to a boil.  Make sure the water is well salted.  This soup tends toward the bland… the salt in the boiling water really helps.  Add the potatoes and boil for about 10 minutes.  Add the corn kernels and boil for another 5 minutes. If you *can* use fresh corn (i.e.: picked recently and cut off the cob), do it.  It will be that much more tender.  Otherwise use frozen. I like the super sweet white kernels, but anything will do.

Usually the 15 minutes of boiling will be enough to cook your potatoes, but check before draining.  When you put a fork into the middle of one of your pieces, it should basically fall apart.

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If they are done, drain off the water and return to the saucepan.  Place back on the stove (heat on).  Add the chicken stock and enough milk to just cover the potatoes.  Add the onions, etc. and stir up.  Mash about a dozen of the potatoes against the side of the pan so the starch will thicken up the soup.

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At this point all you need to do it season it.  I use my magic ingredient, green Tabasco, but you can just pitch in a little salt & pepper.  I sometimes also pitch in a teaspoon or so of dried mustard – though that flavor combo isn’t for everyone.  Sometimes I’ll put a little shredded cheddar in as well.  If you do that, also remember to add some sour cream or something to bind the cheese to the stock otherwise it will just be kind of stingy in there.  If you do add sour cream, remember to take it off the heat first.  Sour cream doesn’t like to be boiled.

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NOTE: I usually have both pots simmering away at the same time, but if you are at all nervous, start with the onion, celery, thyme saute first, then work on boiling up the potatoes.

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