Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kicking off soup season

Here in our little corner of the world, it is cold. And rainy. Weather that's good for nothing but staying inside with a fire in the wood stove and making a big pot of soup. I'm not a fan of cold weather myself, but I do love a delicious pot of soup, and this one may be my very favorite. Before we cancelled cable, I used to watch a lot of Food Network, and I love Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Despite the fact that I disagree with her idea of "easy Saturday afternoon entertaining" ($50 worth of fresh tuna to make tuna tartar does not qualify as easy in my book ;), her recipes are elegant and always delicious. This is her recipe for cheddar corn chowder and it goes against all of my current food rules. It is neither healthy nor easy and quick to prepare. But I'll forgive it its flaws because it is AH. MAZING. And because it makes enough to feed a small country, which means I can pull it out of the freezer for months. Excellent.

Cheddar Corn Chowder
From Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

8 oz bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (approx. 4 large)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
12 cups chicken stock
*(I use 10 cups. I find it makes the soup more chowder-y. 
If you like a thinner soup, go ahead and use 12 cups of stock).
6 cups medium-diced white potatoes, unpeeled
10 cups fresh corn kernels (10 ears) or frozen corn (3 pounds)
*(I have used both, and while the frozen corn does the job, the fresh corn makes a far superior chowder. Since I don't make this soup in the summer when corn is plentiful, I usually cut the kernels off and freeze them to use in the winter.)
2 cups half and half
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar, grated

In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and tumeric and cook 3 more 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 for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. If using frozen corn, 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 with a garnish of bacon. Proceed to eat 4 bowls. Enjoy!

That's alotta soup!

Chowder for now...

...and chowder for later.

Happy Soup Season!


  1. Oh. Em. Gee. That looks delicious!!! I think I'll be making that this week, but cutting it in half (or even quarter the recipe?) because I have absolutely no room left in my freezer!

  2. It is worth every tear you will shed chopping all those onions! It is so so so so so so SO GOOD! If you cut the recipe in half, you'll probably have enough to feed you for a couple of days, if you like leftovers (this makes great leftovers!).

  3. I think I'll be using the food processor for all the onions! Best. Gadget. Ever.