Corn chowder is a wonderful thing. Although some of us would be ashamed to admit it, canned corn is a wonderful thing too. And, while a steaming bowl of chowder is most welcome in the winter, winter is precisely when corn is out of season. Whence the following recipe for canned corn corn chowder (which isn’t at all the same thing as canned corn chowder.)
Although wordhandler.com isn’t a cooking site, culinary prose is well within our capabilities. The reader is assured that, while this post is intended to demonstrate our abilities, the recipe has been checked by Word Handler’s own test kitchen, and is very good indeed.
I’ve based my formula on a soup base Julia Child introduces in the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, where it is used to produce a delicious and rich cream of mushroom soup. I refer you to Mastering for the mushroom version, which is also well worth making on a cold winter’s night.
for approximately 3 cups of soup
2 medium waxy potatoes
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup boiling water
2 cups milk (whole or 2% reduced fat)
1 15¾ ounce can yellow corn
¼ cup heavy cream (more, if you can stand it)
a few drops of lemon juice
2 tbsp. softened butter (more, if you can stand it)
Peel the potatoes and cut into ½” dice. Place in a small saucepan, cover with water, salt heavily, and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are just tender. Drain and reserve.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat in a 2½ quart saucepan. When the butter foam begins to subside, add the onion. Reduce heat to medium and cook the onions, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until they are very soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Be very careful not to let the onions brown.
Bring the water to the boil in another pot or tea kettle.
Heat the milk to just below the simmer in another pan or in the microwave at high power for 2 minutes.
When the onions are soft, add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Do not let the roux brown. Pour in the boiling water. Beat vigorously (a flat whisk is ideal here); the sauce will become very thick. Continue to beat for another minute as the mixture bubbles.
Add the hot milk. Beat with the whisk until the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat and bring to the simmer, stirring with the wooden spoon as the mixture thickens. Simmer the soup base, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Taste the liquid in the can of corn. If it is sweet and flavorful, reserve 3 tablespoons of the liquid before draining. If the liquid is flavorless there is no need to reserve any of it before draining. Then drain the corn in a mesh colander.
When the soup has finished its simmering time, add the corn and the reserved liquid from the can (if any.)
Stir to combine, and return the soup to the simmer. Cook 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Add the cooked potatoes and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, until the potatoes are heated through.
Keeping the soup just below the boil, stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add a few drops of lemon juice to temper the sweetness of the cream. Cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes, until piping hot.
Off heat, stir in the butter enrichment.
Serve in warmed bowls with the soda crackers, which should be crumbled into the soup just before eating.