Friday, January 3, 2014

Quick & Easy Corn Chowder

It's cold here. COLD. And dry, too. I woke up to a chilly 20° morning and air so dry that I could almost feel my face and sinuses drying up and cracking like cheap paint. For those of you dealing with blizzard conditions in the Northeast, I'm sorry - 20° probably sounds awesome. Plus, it's nice and sunny here, but still cold. We just don't get bitter cold that often here in Alabama. 

Needless to say, I'm bundled up and layered down. Leggings under some flannel-lined khakis I stole years ago from the BF, a thermal shirt and a super plush hoodie, and warm socks with boots. 

With this kind of weather, only one thing will really warm me up. Soups, preferably thick, hearty chowders. I'm a sucker especially for chowders that contain corn; I've even posted my Corn & Chicken Chowder recipe before. I just love how corn makes any chowder a touch sweeter - this is also why I'm a complete sucker for Corn & Crab Soup or Corn Egg Drop Soup at Chinese restaurants!

My Corn & Chicken Chowder is one of my favorites. It takes a bit of work to prepare, though. This is another type of corn chowder. It's easy and super fast to prepare (about 20-25 minutes). Plus, it can easily be made vegetarian. My version uses bacon (since I had some leftover from preparing my turnip greens), which adds a few minutes to the recipe, but you can easily omit this and make this dish vegetarian by following the substitutions I've noted below. 


Quick & Easy Corn Chowder

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon, diced (omit for vegetarian and see notes below)
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian)
3 baking potatoes, peeled & chopped
2 12oz cans creamed corn
1 12oz can kernel corn, drained
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk, room temperature or warmed

Cook the bacon in a stockpot until crisp; remove from pot and reserve 2 Tbsp of bacon drippings.



 
For vegetarian, simply omit the bacon completely and use 2 Tbsp of olive oil or melted butter instead! 

Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are beginning to turn tender.


Add the stock, potatoes, corn, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes. 





Stir in the half-and-half or milk and cook until heated through. Return the bacon to the chowder (again, omit for vegetarian), then serve.




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