Monday, July 13, 2009

Southern Corn Chowder

I have always loved corn chowder. Warm, creamy and hearty and homey. You can enjoy it in the summer using fresh corn chopped off the cob or in the winter using canned or frozen kernels. I made this version using three recipes, taking the best ideas and ingredients from each and making a slightly spicy, southern-style corn chowder. My sources? Emeril Lagasse's Southern-Style Corn Chowder, Martha Stewart's Summer Corn Chowder and Canadian Living's fool-proof corn chowder recipe.

Take this soup up a notch by garnishing with adding crispy bacon, crab, shrimp, prawns, smoked cheddar cheese or herbs such as diced cilantro, basil and chives.

Southern Corn Chowder (serves 4-6)

1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 poblano or serrano pepper, seeded and diced
3-4 cups good quality stock (vegetarian or chicken)
1 1/2 cups potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 cans (12 oz or 341 ml) corn
1/4 teaspoon paprika, smoked or Hungarian
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half and half cream

Place a large stockpot over medium heat and cook onions for about 10-15 minutes until golden. Add carrot, celery, red pepper, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and poblano or serrano pepper and stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Then add potatoes, corn, paprika and cayenne and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Sir in cream, taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour half the soup into a food processor and pulse (about 10 times) until the larger chunks have broken down a little. Add back to the rest of the soup, heat, and serve.

MORE SOUP RECIPES-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Curried Carrot, Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup
This is a smooth, pureed soup with a depth of flavours and a rich golden colour.

Ginger Peanut Soup
A delicious, vegetarian soup that combines broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes with the flavours with a little heat of ginger and cayenne.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
A woodsy, mushroom soup with exceptional flavour because of the generous additions of paprika, dill and sour cream.

Lentil Minestrone
There's nothing quite as comforting as a big pot of fragrant soup simmering on the stove top. This recipe is a hearty soup with pasta, lentils, carrots and greens such as kale, broccoli rabe, chard, or spinach.

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