Cheddar Corn Chowder

I love good metaphors.  They don’t always have to be profound; they just have to be true. I particularly liked what Kristin Armstrong, blogger of Mile Markers fame, recently wrote: that “time spent with good girlfriends is basic, organic nutrition, not dessert.”  So isn’t Cheddar Corn Chowder, this week’s magic soup-pot selection.

When the leaves start to turn, tradition dictates that we girls get together on Sunday nights and cook big vats of autumnal things—chowders, soups, applesauce.    We bring bottles of wine and bags of ingredients and follow recipes loosely, ending up with enough food for all three of our families.  Last Sunday, we made Cheddar Corn Chowder.  Rich and delicious, full of the sweet corn still available in our market, this chowder reminds us of the abundance of fall.  The original recipe comes from my friend Laura and, while it certainly isn’t low-calorie, it is full-flavor.

We need time with our friends.  It is not a topper.  It is not a bonus.  Time with our friends helps us be better moms and spouses and people.  Whether you want to make this Cheddar Corn Chowder with your friends or just share it with them, here’s what you’ll need:

12 oz. bacon, chopped
a heavy drizzle of olive oil
½ stick butter
2-3 C. white wine
4 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ C. flour
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. turmeric
1 t. marjoram
12 C. chicken stock
2 # medium-diced red potatoes (3 cups)
3 C. peeled and diced sweet potatoes
10 C. corn kernels (from about 12 ears)
3 C. half-n-half
½ # cheddar cheese, grated
green onion for garnish

Here’s what you do:

Put a heavy drizzle of olive oil into the bottom of a large stock pot.  Heat it over medium high heat  and add bacon.  Cook until crisp, and remove with a slotted spoon.  Reduce the heat to medium and add onions and butter to the fat.  (Olive Oil, and Butter, and Bacon…oh, my!) Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add the minced garlic.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, marjoram and tumeric.  Cook for three minutes.  Meanwhile, microwave the sweet potatoes to soften them up a bit, also for about three minutes.  Add chicken stock and both kinds of potatoes.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

If you are using fresh sweet corn, steam your corn and slice the kernels off of the cobs.  Add the corn to the soup, and then stir in the half-n-half, cheddar cheese, and wine.  Cook for about 5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the Cheddar Corn Chowder with a garnish of crumbled bacon and chopped green onions.

Enjoy.  Be grateful, both for the abundance of the season and the people who make you happy.

See you at the market.