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Home Made Corn Chowder in a Bread Bowl

January 11, 2015

Ah…  it’s the life in the San Francisco Bay Area…   The BEST (if not the only) real sour dough bread in the world !!!   It’s easy for all of us around here to find a sour dough bread bowl…  $0.97 each at the local grocer…

So this picture is one of the things you can do with your own home-made chicken stock.  It’s the soup my wife and I made from the chicken stock blog-post we did last week  –  the one where you enjoyed your favorite rotisserie chicken, but now you have all these bones and skin left over to deal with.   Remember…   …toss it in before you toss it out…    😉     …into a stock pot that is…

So we have about 3 quarts of stock that we made sittin’ in the fridge…  It’s really cold outside (40’s…  hey it’s California), so chowder sounds great !   I take a look in the pantry and see some russet potatoes, some canned cream corn, evaporated milk, an onion…   flour…   hmmm…  check the fridge  –  celery, butter, cooked bacon strips, Canadian bacon…   Corn Chowder it is…  Just pop over to the store to pick up a couple of small round sour dough loaves and some corn on the cob…

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corna5Start with your mise en plas (like in the French Onion Soup Post), basically getting everything ready (or all in place)…  Peel & chop your potatoes, clean & chop your celery, clean & chop the onion, then go for taking the corn off of the cob. #messy, #cornallovertheplace…

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Here’s a tip for taking corn off the cob…  Take a medium-sized bowl and place on a folded towel on your counter (so it wont slip), then take a small bowl and put it in the medium bowl Up Side Down…   Now you can put the end of the cob on the little bowl, run your knife down the cob to remove the kernels, and catch ’em all in the bigger bowl…   none of ’em will roll away into the stove top or onto the floor or between the stove and cabinet #gross…    Really…  they all fall into the bigger bowl…

 

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Now that you have everything in place (mis en plas), start heating your stock pot or dutch oven on medium high, add 2 tablespoons butter, let it melt, but not burn, and toss in your chopped ingredients…  add salt and pepper…  give it a stir to coat everything with butter and seasonings…  let it do its thing for about 15 minutes, stirring maybe every 3 minutes or so…  Don’t forget the chopped bacon and Canadian bacon! (if you’re up to it, give the Canadian a spin in a hot pan to caramelize a bit before adding it in…)

 

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Ok…  Here we are…  the dutch oven is heating all of the ingredients up…  you can smell the butter and onion dancing to the music first, then the bacon steps up…   Finally the smell of sweet corn begins to take over…  This is just the beginning…  While these guys are all sweatin’ in their hot tub…  lets start the next step…  The Roux…

A roux is a fancy French term for a thickener made with equal parts of fat and flour, used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews…  we’ll use butter for our chowder today, but you could use bacon fat, sausage fat or poultry fat for gravy (sauce).  The idea is to cook the fat and flour for a bit to remove the raw flour taste…   When this mix interacts with a hot liquid, amazing things start to happen…  Rich, thick creamy goodness…  Roux’s are really big in Creole cooking.  Many times to start a gumbo, you start with the roux, and actually cook it so long that it becomes amber in color…  (roux is also a sort of slang french word for red…)

For this amount of soup, I’m guessing we need about 4 tablespoons of flour with equal part butter…  Maybe 6, but we can always add more…  that’s the thing, in cooking, you can always add more of an ingredient if you want, but you can’t really take “too-much” back out…

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In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat…  Once melted, add the equal part of flour…  Stir in the flour so it soaks up all of the butter…  Stir frequently…  See how it begins to develop bubbles and starts to turn slightly darker…  after about 2-3 minutes it becomes a “blonde” roux…   this will do to thicken a light colored sauce or soup…  If you continue to cook this, it gets even thicker and turns a light brown, then it will turn into a kind of paste, and turn amber in color…  then you need to be really careful, cause it may just stick to the bottom of your pot…  The brown or amber roux is great in gumbo, jambalaya, or something you might make up at home…

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So the roux is ready, and the veggies have cooked to perfection for about 15 – 20 minutes…   It’s time to add the home-made stock to the party…  This is the point where I take the liberty to stir in some creaminess by adding a can of evaporated milk…  Nice short cut…   now turn up the heat a bit…

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Once this just about to boil, time to add the roux to thicken…  Hey let’s face it…  the roux adds another level of rich buttery goodness too…

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After this boils for about a minute, it should be thick  and buttery-creamy like a good chowder should, with the great flavor of corn and bacon… not thick enough?  Add a bit more roux…  For a final touch, in this case, I added one can of creamed corn for a bit more corn flavor, a bit more salt and pepper, and just a tiny bit of cumin and cooking sherry to finish…  let that simmer for 5 minutes while you get the bread bowl ready (if you’re lucky like us Northern Californians)  Just cut off the top at an angle like a jack-o-lantern…  Set the top aside, dig out a bit of the soft bread to make room for the delicious Chowder (Chowda’ in the North East)…

Place the bread bowl in a low profile soup bowl, ladle the creamy chowda goodness in, garnish how you like…  (sour cream?  chile peppers?  Baby corn-on-the-cob?  it’s your call…  I used up the leafy part of the celery…)  Now slurp it up !!!

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MMMMmmmmmm…  tasty, creamy, warm-inside, goodness…  A nice glass of Bordeaux couldn’t hurt either…

I hope you get the chance to try this at home…   remember, this is not a by-the-book approach to cooking…  Stick to the basics of “Applying Heat”, make it your own by learning what it is you really like…  then add those things for your own flare…

Please let me know how you liked it…    If you’d like to know a bit more about me,  check out my first post…             Until next time…   Happy Cooking !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments
  1. jestchat permalink

    Ok, this looks yummy! Do we get to submit a request for it?

    Liked by 1 person

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