Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soup. It's what's for dinner...

Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn.  ~Garrison Keillor

I guess I haven't got this blogging  thing down yet.  I forgot to take a pic of my corn chowder last night, so I looked for a photo in Google.  This one looks pretty close to what my chowder looks like.

I've mentioned before (here? or commenting on another blog?  I don't know...) that I'm sort of a "flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" kind of cook.  Although I often get my inspiration from an actual recipe I find somewhere, I almost always end up veering off on my own.  That's why I don't bake much.  You have to follow directions - usually very closely - and I just don't do that well.  Short attention span or something.  I don't know.  Anywayyyy...over the years I've kind of made up my own recipes for some favorites, and Corn Chowder is one of them.  It is amazingly simple, and while it's best made with fresh corn, I often use frozen corn, because I love soup in the winter and it's hard to find local fresh corn in the winter.  I promise it is really, really close to just as good as fresh.  Oh, and a warning:  while I don't eat meat as a general rule, there is a small amount in this recipe.  I've tried making it without the pancetta, but it is not the same.  Two or three ounces of pancetta adds a ton of flavor.  It just does.  If you figure out a way to make this without it, let me know.

Since I am such a...shall we say creative cook, and I don't usually measure anything, I've estimated measurements here.  Feel free to change things.  Oh, and I like spicy.  If you don't, feel free to cut back on the red pepper flakes and jalapeno, although I'm not sure I would leave it out completely.  Might be too mild and sweet.

Corn Chowder

6 cups corn kernals (fresh or thawed, if using frozen)
1/2 to 3/4 cup half and half
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and very finely diced (to taste)
2 to 3 oz pancetta, finely diced (Italian bacon - I find it in the deli at my grocery store)
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I use Wolfgang Puck's - it's awesome!)
Red Pepper Flakes to taste

In a soup pot, using a small amount of olive oil, saute pancetta, bell pepper, jalapeno, and onion over medium-low heat, until veggies are soft - about 5 mins.
In the meantime, put 5 cups of corn and the half and half in blender (you may have to do it in two batches) and pulse a few times until fairly smooth and creamy.  If it's too thick add a little more half and half.  It's amazing how thick corn gets when you put it in the blender.
Add the creamy corn mix, the rest of the corn kernels, and the broth to the soup pot and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until heated through and the whole kernels are cooked.  Add S&P and red pepper flakes to taste (you may not want these if you don't like spicy).  Serve with a nice, crusty bread.  This usually makes enough for our dinner and we each get lunch out of it the next day, so maybe four servings.


  1. hi karin,

    your soup looks so good.

    now i would veganize it by substituting soymilk and to get the flavor that the pancetta imparts i would prob use a few drops of liquid smoke. i know it would not be the same but i think it would be worth it for the trade off. i will try and make this next week and report back.


  2. Oh yum. I'll make it as is. Nice Sunday night supper.

    xx Jane

  3. This looks awesome, Karin. And I'm the same as you in the kitchen. I use recipes more to understand flavor combinations or profiles. I'll sometimes use a little bit of this recipe and little bit of that recipe to come up with what makes sense to me. I think I might throw some potatoes in this and I wonder if a little smoked tofu would add that smokey flavor.

  4. hi Janet - let me know how it turns out. I think I tried Liquid smoke one time and it wasn't bad, just not as good. Maybe Steve's idea to use a little smoked tofu? I haven't tried that, but it sounds good.
    Jane - it is one of my favorite Sunday night dinners! I hope you like it!
    Steve - I'm with ya. I sometimes combine recipes too! The only thing is sometimes, since I don't use a recipe, I forget exactly what I did when I go to make something again! Lots of people put potatoes in corn chowder. I never have, but I just might try it. It would make it even heartier!

  5. First of all, the quote from Garrison Keillor is cracking me up! I think he has a valid point there. I love, love corn chowder. BUT, I am a vegetarian, so I would have to forgo the meat. I'm sure it is great just the same!


  6. Claudia,
    I agree about the quote - Garrison Keillor cracks me up, too. I love Prairie Home Companion!