The Other “Chowdah”

That would be corn chowder. (or “chowdah” as they say around here in Boston)

Clam gets all the fame but frankly I like a hearty cup of corn chowder much more than clam. Okay confession time: I hate clams and always have. Gasp! A native New England-er hates clams! Plus my dad who was from California preferred the red “Manhattan style” clam chowder that came out of a can! Double Gasp!! So that is what I thought all clam chowder smelled and looked like for a long time.

Basically I am saying it is not my fault that I don’t like clams.

Now my husband – he LOVES clams. So the real challenge was getting him to realize you can have chowder without clams!

Just add bacon. That makes everything okay. And he loved it. I know he genuinely loved it because he ate it two or three times over the next few days after I made it. And he hardly ever eats a leftover.

The Recipe

2 cups of corn kernels – I happened to have some leftover roasted on the cob from this summer in my freezer – but any will do.

2 cups potatoes, cooked but still firm and diced large – peel if you want. I don’t. ( I used leftover baked potato)

4 ozs of bacon – diced small – low sodium is nice to use.

1 medium onion diced small

1 can (14.5 oz) of creamed corn – a secret trick for “upping” that corny flavor and texture.

4 cups of whole milk – best if not super-cold from the fridge

2 cups of “half and half” – same temperature tip as the milk

1 tsp +/- of dried dill weed (Secret ingredient secured from my mom’s recipe – thanks!)

1 garlic clove, peeled but whole – for subtle flavor and to be fished out later. (Also thanks to mom for that one!)

salt and pepper to taste and a big pat of butter to enrich the soup before serving if you are feeling a little decadent.

Saute the bacon in a heavy bottom pot until it is about halfway rendered. Add the diced onions and continue cooking. When onions have softened a bit and turned golden, add the corn, potatoes, dill and some salt/pepper. Toss around the pan a bit. Add the creamed corn, milk, half and half and garlic. Turn down the heat so the milk/cream won’t scald but will still continue to gently cook. (barely a simmer) This might take some playing around with your burner heat. Watch it carefully. Let cook on low for at least an hour to really marry the flavors and the dairy will thicken just a bit. Taste for seasoning – add that butter if you dare and serve.

“If you want it thicker” Tips:

You can do an old-fashioned flour roux if you like at the beginning once the onions and bacon are merrily on their way.

You could add a slurry of “masa” (finely ground corn flour) and water to “up” the corn flavor and keep it gluten-free. 1 cup liquid to 1/2 cup masa. add it after you add all the other stuff.

Mom suggests you take an extra cooked potato and blend it down with a little of the soup or even some hot water and use that to thicken the soup. That is how she does it.

For the vegetarians

Just leave out the bacon and use fat-of-choice to saute the onions. Problem solved.


2 comments on “The Other “Chowdah”

  1. Karen says:

    Your chowder sounds great. I won’t tell any New Englanders that you don’t like clams. LOL.

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