Corn Chowder

I don’t know how the weather has been where you live, but down here in the South, I think Mother Nature is going through a mid life crisis. One day it’s freezing, the next it feels like spring. These last few days have been pretty cold ( after I post this it will probably be a balmy 60 degrees) and on cold days and evenings, that makes me want to cook something warm and comforting. What could be better than some creamy homemade soup…..or corn chowder in this case.

I really haven’t eaten a lot of corn chowder, but for some reason I’ve had a craving for it lately. Yes, fresh summer corn would be the best, but it’s not summer and unfortunately, all of that delicious corn that I put in the freezer at the end of summer is gone. But I found that frozen corn can be tasty as well. This chowder does take some prepping, but the end result is oh so worth it. It has sweet corn with onions and garlic. There is also some chunky potatoes, carrots and smoky bacon ( anything is better with bacon right?) with a touch of a few spices and some cream to add that nice creamy texture, All of this in one bowl that tastes like a soul satisfying hug.

This chowder is great as a side dish, but also hearty enough to be the main star. So grab your spoon and a big bowl and here’s what you need to make your own.

*5 slices of bacon, chopped

*2 TBS. butter

*1 medium onion, chopped

*1 large carrots, chopped small

*2 garlic cloves, grated using a microplane or minced

*2 TBS. flour

*2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into about 1/4 inch cubes; I prefer using russet potatoes because these are starchier potatoes that will help thicken the chowder.

*4 cups fresh corn cut off the cobb or frozen (defrosted)

*4 cups chicken or vegetable broth; I used Better Than Bullion

*1 tsp. dried Thyme or 1 TBS. fresh Thyme or more to taste

*1 tsp. sweet paprika or more to taste

*1 Bay leaf

*1 cup cream

*salt and cracked pepper to taste

*chives or scallions for garnish (optional)

Heat a large pot to medium high heat; add the bacon and cook until brown and crispy stirring often.

Remove the bacon pieces and set aside. Pour off the bacon fat but leave 1 TBS. in the pot; turn the heat down to medium and add in the butter. When the butter is melted add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until onions are softened, about 5 minutes stirring frequently.

Add the flour, cook while constantly for about 1 minute or until the flour appears mixed in.

Add the corn and the potatoes to the pot and stir together.

Pour in the stock and turn the heat up to medium high heat then add the Thyme and paprika.

Stir until the broth starts to bubble. Add the Bay leaf, cover and turn the heat to simmer. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes and the carrots are tender. Discard the Bay leaf.

Take off of the heat and add in the cream. With an immersion blender, blend until some of the vegetables are smooth, but still leave a good many chunks. You can also take about 1 to 2 cups of the chowder and blend in a blender, then add it back into the pot.

Turn the heat down to medium and add in the bacon pieces. Continue warming the chowder while constantly stirring about 2 to 3 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives or scallions

Enjoy

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Skillet Roasted Corn

This skillet roasted corn makes an easy and great tasting side dish. This can be done with frozen or fresh corn. By adding a few ingredients and cooking it in a skillet, the corn becomes a little caramelized and really brings out the flavor of the corn. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet because it holds the heat better and it seems to caramelize the corn well, but you don’t have to use cast iron. I would not recommend a non stick kind, because you will not get the same results. Make sure your skillet is big enough so the corn is not over crowded.

Here’s what you need:

*corn, frozen or fresh; I used 1/2 bag of sweet frozen corn.

*1 TBS butter

*1 tsp. olive oil

*1 garlic clove, minced

*1/2 tsp. onion powder

*salt to taste

Heat a medium cast iron pan on medium heat; add butter and oil.

When butter mixture melts and starts to foam, add in the garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes or until garlic becomes soft. Add in the onion powder.

Stir for about 1 minute, this will help flavor the butter and oil mixture, but be careful not to let the garlic or the onion powder burn.

Toss in the corn and stir to coat the butter mixture all over the corn. Spread the corn in a single layer as much as possible.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes; add the salt.

When corn starts to brown, remove from the pan and serve.

Corn Salad

This might look like an ordinary corn dish, but oh no…..this stuff is addictive.I can not take credit, my aunt Cathy made this and brought it to a lunch me and some of my family had last Saturday (yes there was social distancing and there were only 5 of us…. no men were allowed just us girls). I have to admit, when she mentioned that she brought corn salad to go along with our very tasty chicken salad ( yes, it was a salad kind of luncheon, and not the leafy kind. ) I do like corn so I knew this should be good. But it’s just corn right? wrong! This also has chili cheese Fritos. Yes, Fritos. Don’t scroll away….seriously, it’s that good. I could have just plopped down, spoon in hand and eaten the whole bowl of this stuff. The corn chips add a nice crunch and saltiness, where as the mayo adds just a touch of creaminess to it and a little bite from the onion….. so good.

This can be made a head of time, but do not add the Fritos until it is time to serve or it can become soggy.

Here’s what you need:

*2 cans whole kernel corn ( 1 can regular corn and 1 can sweet corn)

*2 C. grated Cheddar cheese

*1 C. mayonnaise

*1 C. green bell pepper, chopped

*1/2 C. red onion, finely chopped

*1 (10.5 ounce) nag of coarsely crushed Chili-Cheese corn chips.

Mix first 5 ingredients and chill. Stir in corn chips just before serving.

Corn with Parmesan and Smoked Paprika

Corn makes a great side dish doesn’t it. It can go with so many things. Sometimes, it can be kinda bland or a little tiresome with just the usual butter. This is kind of a kicked up version…..a little take on Mexican street corn. To make things even easier, I used frozen corn, but you can certainly use fresh grilled corn cut off of the cob.

Here’s what you need:

*1 small bag of frozen corn, thawed

*2 TBS butter; divided

*1 tsp. smoked paprika

*2 TBS mayonnaise

*2 TBS Parmesan cheese; finely grated

*juice of 1/2 lime or more to taste

*1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnish

Set out 1 TBS of the butter at room temperature to soften; about 30 minutes. Mix the smoked paprika with the butter; set aside.

I know you are probably thinking, that this does not look very appealing. You might even be thinking that this looks like way too much paprika. I even hesitated when I started mixing the paprika to the butter, but I can assure you, it’s all worth it.

Heat a medium size pan or cast iron pot ( I used a cast iron pot); add remaining TBS of butter to the pot to melt.

When the butter starts to foam, pour in the corn.

Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Take off of the heat.

Add the butter paprika mixture….

and then the remaining ingredients.

Stir to blend it all together. Garnish with more cilantro and serve.