Thursday, August 4, 2011

Potato Corn Chowder

A couple weeks ago the temperatures in the D.C. area were well in the triple digits and the heat index was between 110 and 120.  So what did I do?  I made soup!  Initially it started out as a potato-cheese soup, but as I started adding more ingredients, it turned into a chowder.  Mr. Picky Pants was also a little under-the-weather so I thought some homemade soup was just what the doctor ordered.
The Recipe:

2 T butter/margarine
1 onion
1-2 stalks of celery
1 small carrot
4 small potatoes
salt and pepper
chicken stock
1 can of corn or frozen corn
1 cup sour cream
bacon and cheese to garnish

Instead of buying a bunch of carrots and celery that I wouldn't use, I went to the salad bar and got some shredded carrots and chopped celery.  I put them in my food chopper to hide them from Mr. Picky Pants.  The smaller the veggies, the harder it is for him to pick them out.  This looks like a lot of veggies, but this makes a lot of soup and they add a lot of substance without adding fat so it's all good.

Brown the veggies in the butter/margarine until they sweat and become soft.  Make sure to not brown the onion, just slowly soften it.

Dice the potatoes and add to the pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Use a potato masher to break down the potatoes.  I don't like chunky soups so this creates a more mushy consistency.  You could use an immersion blender if you want it really smooth.

Add one can of whole kernel corn, drained (or an equal amount of fresh or frozen corn).  Stir to combine.

Add about 1 cup of sour cream (I used what was left in an open container).

Stir the pot to combine all the ingredients and let it warm through.

At this point both I and Mr. Picky Pants tasted it and decided that it didn't need the cheddar cheese I was going to add.  It was rich enough with just the sour cream.  That's where my idea for potato-cheese soup went out the window.

I cook my bacon on a rack in the oven.  It works well and keeps the mess to a minimum.

Serve with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese on top if desired.

The Verdict

Mr. Picky Pants chose to eat his bacon before he tried the soup so he insisted it was missing something (probably the bacon).  However, Mr. Picky Pants actually really enjoyed this soup, and even ate the rest as leftovers during the week.  This was definitely a home-run and a good way to get veggies into Mr. Picky Pants.

In hindsight, I would have started the soup by browning the bacon in the pot and used the bacon drippings to cook the veggies in.  I think this would have given it that extra flavor that Mr. Picky Pants wanted.  This soup came together really quickly.  The most difficult part was cutting up the veggies.  It's a great meal to have when it gets chilly and the leftovers are even better than the original meal.  I will definitely be making this soup this fall and winter.

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