Cheddar Corn Chowder

October 8th, 2009

The Barefoot Blogger challenge for this week was chosen by Jill of My Next Life. I love a good chowder and Ina Garten knows how to make a chowder that sticks to the ribs. Fresh corn this time of year is starchier than the succulent small kerneled variety of early summer so it is perfect for chowder. The potatoes add heft and earthiness to the dish and the bacon and cheese just make it darn good. There is turmeric in the recipe and I was curious as to why she chose that spice until I added it to the pot. The turmeric enhances the golden hue of the dish. Some might think that the chowder is a bit bland but sometimes it is good to let the natural flavors take star billing.

The only change I made to the recipe was to leave out the olive oil, because I figured that the bacon fat and butter were more than adequate in the fat department. I also halved the recipe because it makes enough to feed a food blog convention.


8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds) I peeled mine
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half and half
1/2 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated

In a large stockpot on medium high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and tumeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cobs and blanch the kernels for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn, you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and Cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

Something Fishy

February 12th, 2009

My husband, David, likes fishing and motorcycles, and also occasionally likes to try his hand in the kitchen. Recently, when one of his riding buddies called to confirm their plans for Daytona Bike Week, Ron happened to mention that he had just enjoyed a delicious seafood corn chowder in a restaurant. The corn chowder had incorporated both salmon and smoked trout, and Ron loved it. That started the wheels turning in David’s head due to the happy coincidence that he had several smoked blue fish chilling in the fridge without a good plan for their ultimate use. When he broached his plan with me, I was less than enthusiastic because not only am I not a fan of smoked fish in general, I have an aversion to blue fish in particular. He agreed that if I let him experiment with a seafood corn chowder, he would prepare two versions….one with salmon only for me, and the other with both salmon and smoked blue fish for his exclusive consumption. So, today I am turning the blog over to David. I loved his Seafood Chowder.

A quick Google search for corn chowder yielded a very basic and simple recipe that served as a good starting point. It called for one can each of both creamed corn and whole kernel corn, diced potatoes, celery, and condensed milk. Instead of the condensed milk, I substituted Skim Plus milk and some half-and-half, and added onion, green pepper, jalepeno pepper, garlic, and a little butter and sherry to the mix. The results were quite tasty, although I admit to overdoing it a bit on the smoked fish in my batch. Penny’s batch, with salmon only, was pretty good, and I think if I had it to do over again (and I will), I wouldn’t put a whole smoked fish into the rather small pot that I made for myself. A little smoked blue fish goes a long way in a chowder. It can take the place of the bacon, or pancetta, or salt pork that some recipes call for, but it would probably require only two or three tablespoons to impart a nice smokey flavor to a whole pot of chowder – a whole smoked fish in the pot was a little overpowering.

I should also mention the toasted sourdough french baguette with olive oil and pepper that I made to go with the chowder. I make this toast several times a week these days and we have both become seriously addicted to it. The baguettes are readily available at the ubiquitous Publix grocery stores here in Florida, but when we head back to Lake Lure in the spring we will either have to do without (I foresee severe withdrawal symptoms) or learn to make them ourselves. The simple recipe for the toast is included below.


2 medium potatos, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

2 jalepeno peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can creamed corn
1 small package of frozen corn niblets
1 fresh salmon fillet (about 3/4 lb) skinned and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Diced Smoked fish to taste (don’t overdue it, a little goes a long way, but it adds a nice smoky flavor, and takes the place of smoked bacon or fatback called for in many chowder recipes)
1/2 cup Skim Plus milk (or milk of your choice)
A little half-and-half, maybe 1/4 cup — add more or less milk and/or half-and-half to achieve the consistency you desire in the chowder. I wanted it kind of thick.
1 Tbs olive oil for sweating the vegetables
1 Tbs sherry (just for the nice flavor it imparts — leave it out or use more as you desire)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes for a little more kick
2 Tbs butter
salt and black pepper to taste


Saute the potatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, jalepeno pepper, and garlic in a little olive oil in a large pot over medium heat to soften them and give them flavor. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatos are cooked. Drain the water and add the creamed corn and corn niblets to the pot, followed by the milk, half-and-half, sherry, butter, and red pepper flakes. Add the cubed salmon and smoked fish and then salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for about 20 minutes to be sure the salmon is cooked. Serve and enjoy with any bread of your choice, but if you have access to sourdough french baguettes, try the toast below.

Sourdough French Baguette Preparation:

Slice a sourdough french baguette on a diagonal making slices about 1/2 inch thick
Arrange slices on a baking sheet
Liberally coat each slice with olive oil and rub the oil in
Top each slice with fresh ground black pepper to taste
Place in a toaster oven or under the broiler of an oven until nicely browned

Printable recipe – Seafood and corn chowder

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.