The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Saaaay Chowdah, Frenchie!!! October 15, 2010

There’s nothing French about this recipe. Okay, well, there’s a bit of roux-action going on, and some thyme. Fine.  Anyways, I don’t care what anyone says, it’s cold as a witch’s tit (HEH) right now (sub-zero temperatures the other day), and I MUST have some form of soup when necessary. After some cooking videos, I’m all tuckered out, I wanted something easy, something I could cook in flannel pajama pants and my college hoodie. Something with a few layers of delicious fat. That’s right. My fridge is becoming barren again – mostly due to the fact I cook all the choice meats first, then leave myself with scraps, but I still have plenty of hocks and salt pork on hand, not to mention a generous amount of bacon fat in my frigidaire, ho ho. Anyhow, after a disastrous attempt at an Asian-y noodle soup yesterday, I decided I was ready to make something I’m actually mentally capable of.
Tonight I made chowdah. Potato and corn chowder. I’m not the type of person who keeps clams in my kitchen, nor am I the type who enjoys simmered fish dishes, nor do I actually trust the majority of the seafood available at my grocery store. That place is practically run by pizza-faced teenagers, yeesh. Talk about food poisoning… I’m sure your appetite is raring to go after that last statement, so let’s endeavor on. This is a pretty simple recipe. Also, it’s nice and robust for a potato and corn chowder, not just milk and blandness. I put a healthy amount of freshly cracked black pepper in, so, yes. Oh, and don’t get scared about the roux business. It’s fat and flour. You can do that. If you can make a simple white sauce for macaroni and cheese, you can do this. Actually, it’s probably easier and should be less intimidating. Allons-y!
Shit, that was French too, wasn’t it…
Peppery Potato & Corn Chowder

1 tsp fat (guess what kind I used! Okay, you can use olive oil, if you waaaaannnt. Baconbaconbacon for the win, though)
4 oz salt pork, cut into very small cubes (but of COURSE, you could use BACON instead, if need be)
1 medium onion, chopped into small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk (Homo or no-go! Well, 2% will work, but I’ll have less respect for you…)
1/2 cup cream (I used 10%)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 – 3/4 tsp FRESH cracked black pepper
1 lb new potatoes, in big-ish 1″ chunks (red skin potatoes look nice though, I think)
1 1/2 cups corn niblets (fresh, or frozen will do)
salt, to taste

In a saucepan (ehh.. smallish soup pot, 8 cups or so will work for you), heat 1 tsp fat over medium-high heat, then add salt pork. Cook, stirring frequently until brown and crispy. Pour off all but about 2-3 Tbsp fat. Add onions, and sweat (not browning) until they soften up a bit, and turn clear. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute. Then, add flour, stirring constantly until all of it is moistened, and not especially lumpy. Cook for a minute or two to get the raw flour taste cooked off, then stir in chicken stock, about 1/2 cup to start with, gradually adding more while you stir. Next, add milk and cream. Bring up to a simmer, stirring constantly over medium heat, until it thickens somewhat. Add nutmeg, cayenne, thyme and black pepper, stirring, then add potatoes. Let simmer, partially covered until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently, to prevent bottom-stickage. Add corn, cook about 4 or 5 minutes until it is just cooked and tender (should still have that *pop!* to it when you bite). Season with salt to taste and serve.
Also, I served this with a piece of 100% whole wheat bread from my work, on the side. It was a nice match. I would also suggest cornbread as a side, too. Oh!  If you wish, you could add 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce to this too, but I just didn’t feel like it tonight. Another nice variation of this would be to add shrimp. All you need to do there is add it at the very end, along with the corn, would be a good measure of time. Cook just until the shrimp turns opaque and pink (obviously, I am suggesting raw shrimp, not those dastardly pre-cooked abominations). If you’re going that route, you may as well substitute shrimp stock for the chicken stock, too. But, chicken stock will do just fine. I like to save my shrimp shells and freeze them, so I can make homemade shrimp stock for instances like gumbo, etc..
Okay, so that’s what I’ve got for tonight (this is my 3rd post today, Holy Christmas…), although I might post my recipe for Spanish-y Shrimp with an olive-studded tomato sauce over rice. Inspired by my dear compadre, Rob, who’s in Nice, France right now, but cavorting with Spaniards most of the time. I made that last week, and it was especially good.
Also, I noticed in my search results, someone wanted to know about the cookbook I use with the recipe for Doughboys (which went along with my split pea soup). So, THIS is the book I own/love. Incidentally, there are some good, good chowder recipes in that cookbook, too.
Megohm, over and out!


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