Everyone loves comfort food. And nothing says comfort better than a steaming bowl of soup on a cool and rainy October day like today. Especially when it comes to chowder. The word chowder comes from the Latin word calderia which originally meant “a place to warm things” and later came to mean “cooking pot” or “cauldron.” The word chowder did not appear in the Oxford dictionary until the sixteenth century. In 1751, before cook books came into existence, newspapers ran chowder recipes by the dozens. So much so that the first cook book referencing chowders was called 50 Chowders by Jasper White.
Chowder has always been a traditional dish amongst fishing villages. Hence why clam chowder is the most popular among the various chowder recipes. However, it is thought that villages who had no access to seafood would substitute corn in place of clams. Thus, the recipe for corn chowder was born. It is believed that the origin of the corn chowder recipe stems from colonial Williamsburg, where it was served as an alternative to clam chowder.
One of the best corn chowder recipes that I have tasted came from www.lecremedelacrumb.com This smoky bacon and corn chowder can serve a large crowd easily and is packed with “stick to your ribs” ingredients such as potatoes, bacon, and (of course) corn. The recipe for this dish follows. Note, I changed a few things in this recipe to make it heartier. The adjustments that I have made will be listed next to the ingredients in parentheses.
- 1/2 pound of red potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 large russet potato, chopped
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cups of water (I used whole milk instead)
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of chopped white onion
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 5 teaspoons of minced garlic (I only used 2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of smoke paprika
- 1 bag of frozen corn
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
- 8 strips of cooked and crumbled bacon
- Boil the potatoes in a large pot until they are tender. Drain them and set them to the side.
- Melt the butter in the empty pot and sauté the onions until tender.
- Add bouillon cubes and stir until dissolved.
- Add garlic and sauté for one minute.
- Whisk in the flour to form a roux.
- Add the milk (or water if you do not wish to use milk) and whisk until the lumps have completely smoothed out.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Add the corn and potatoes and stir to incorporate throughout.
- Add a small handful of bacon and a small handful of the cheddar, reserving the remaining amounts to top off the chowder when serving.
- Allow the cheddar to melt, stirring until it has done so.
- Dish out the chowder into bowls and top each with remaining cheddar and bacon bits.
This chowder recipe is out of this world. Again, I did change the amount of garlic used and substituted milk for water. This ensured that the amount of garlic used did not overpower the other flavors in this dish and also added the creamy and milky texture and flavor that one associates with chowder. No disrespect to the author of the original recipe, but this creates a more substantial meal with a more even and pleasant flavor. This dish is simple and relatively inexpensive to create and will fill you up in no time. It pairs perfectly with mock Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits and is a real treat for cold evenings spent indoors. Tip if you believe that all chowders should contain some form of seafood feel free to add some steamed shrimp to this dish.
Baltimore City residents can purchase the ingredients for this dish at the following locations:
Whole Foods Market
1330 Smith Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21209
1020 41st Street
Baltimore, MD 21211