On this damp December day, I thought that I would treat my amazing fiancé to his favorite belly warming soup: corn chowder. We are talking a steamy bowl of cream, bacon, and corn. However, feeling compelled to bring something new to the table, I looked online for some inspiration and have decided to add some cheese (who doesn’t love cheese) and a little bit of beer, basically combining a beer-cheddar soup with corn chowder. It can’t be bad right? So, old Mother Hubbard looked in her cupboard and as the rhyme goes, the cupboards were bare. So after the Yeti and I finished running errands and visiting people, we hit Price Chopper and got our necessary supplies. I was very excited that I got a 5 lb bag of flour for $1.88 (who doesn’t have enough flour to add ¼ cup to the chowder you ask? Refer to the Drowning in Apples post) and our own Vermont Cabot cheese was on sale 2 for $4. Score. I was also equally excited when I got home and unpacked the groceries to find that I had gotten someone else’s bag of groceries. Part of me felt guilty as I know how frustrated I become when I realize that I have left a bag of goodies behind (particularly on those damn turn styles bag thingies at Walmart). The other part of me was quite excited to get a free 9’ extension cord, 3 more blocks of Cabot cheese, and 2 blocks of Neufchatel. What the hell do I do with Neufchatel?
Upon arriving home, rushing groceries and a screaming infant up to the second floor apartment (hopefully getting enough exercise to negate any diet damage done by eating corn chowder for dinner) I got the Yeti fed and asleep to prepare for making dinner. I made the mistake of calling Red and telling him what was for dinner, hoping to brighten his day and give him something to look forward to on the two hour drive home. Did I get oyster crackers? No I forgot. Bad wife.
Cheesy Corn Chowdah (hey, I am from Massachusetts, after all)
6 slices of slab cut bacon
½ stick of butter
½ Spanish onion, chopped
1 tbl gahhhhlic
1 lb frozen corn
¼ cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup beer
2 cups ½ & ½
1 ½ blocks of cheese (to your taste, I used cheddar and monterrey jack)
Salt, pepper to taste
1. In the stock pot, fry up 6 slices of bacon. Yes, I know it’s a lot, but my hunny considers bacon a food group that he doesn’t get enough of. Allow it to cook a little for some of the fat to render out. I cook it before I cut it up because I like the bacon to have a little bit of texture and I find it easier to chop up once it has cooked a little. Ok, maybe I should sharpen my knives. Also, I buy it by the slice at the deli because I like the thick cut stuff and if I had the rest of the package of bacon hanging around after only using six slices, well, Red would be begging me to cook a heart healthy breakfast the next morning. Remove the bacon once it has cooked to the texture you desire and set aside to cool. Add ½ stick of butter to the pan. I chop my bacon pretty rustically because, again, we have a Baconator in the house. Return it to the pan with ½ stick of butter.
2. Add ½ chopped onion and cook it to translucency (I cut mine small so I don’t get any grief about big chunks of vegetables). Add a tablespoon of garlic once the onion has cooked. Remember not to add the garlic too soon because if over cooked, it will turn bitter.
3. Add corn. I used frozen and I eyeballed how much I thought would be good in there. It was 1/2 of a 2 lb bag (yes, I realize that is 1 lb, but I just wanted to be clear for all of you math whizzes out there). I let the corn cook in the butter & bacon fat for a few minutes to let it soak up all of that delicious flavor.
4. Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour onto the veggie bacon mixture. Let it cook for another 4-5 minutes to get the raw flour taste out of it.
5. Open beer and taste it. This is a crucial part in the cooking process as you would never cook with a beer you wouldn’t drink yourself. I got a pale ale (didn’t want anything too dark and bitter).
6. Pour in 1 cup beer & 2 cups chicken stock and stir as you are adding this. You want to make sure that you get all those delicious bits of browned goodness that stuck to the bottom of the pot while sautéing. I just realized that I have 14 oz left of Berkshire Brewery’s Steel Rail Pale Ale and don’t know what to do with it. Allow this to cook for 4-5 minutes to allow it to thicken a little bit. What should I do while I’m waiting?
7. Add 2 cups of ½ & ½, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Do not burn! Stir occasionally. What’s that? There’s beer?
8. Add the cheese. I cubed up 1 ½ blocks of cheese. Why this amount, you ask? I had half a block of cheddar already open that I didn’t want to turn green. I know it’s easier to melt if its shredded, but I was too lazy to shred and too cheap to buy shredded. Cubed it is. I added ½ the cheese and allowed it to melt to do a consistency check. Since everyone is different and likes different textures, I advise you to do the same. I did add all the cheese.
9. Once the cheese has melted, taste the contents of your cauldron. Add salt and pepper to your preferred flavoring.
10. Serve. Don’t forget the oyster crackers.
I wanted to serve this chowder in bread bowls, but the local Price Chopper didn’t have any small loaves of bread, instead I made Bisquick Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (yes, I used a mix because I had stocked up on Bisquick during a couponing extravaganza – the recipe can be found at the link below). Of course, I didn’t have garlic powder, so in all reality, they are just cheesy biscuits.
I was going to put a picture of my delicious meal on here, but frankly, it was so goddamn good and we were both so hungry that we demolished both the chowder and biscuits. Hunny had two heaping bowls and I really don’t know what happened to all of the biscuits. I was told to make this again but next time with potatoes (and obviously oyster crackers). So, when I do it all over again (which I certainly will, I think this would be a great addition to a winter gathering and would do great in a crock pot) I will chop up a few ‘taters to ½ cubes and throw them in the mix when I add the corn.
Here is the recipe for the biscuits: