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Friday, January 29, 2010

not ruining the corn chowder

last week, i ruined the soup. it was a corn and potato chowder from edible seattle, fall 2008 that i'd been looking forward to all week. i made it to the final step, congratulated myself on how quickly it came together, and then i ruined it-- i forgot to remove the bay leaf before i went at it with the immersion blender. there are conflicting reports on the danger level of ingesting bay leaves-- some say "OMG you will DIE," and others say that while some laurels are toxic, culinary bay laurel is harmful only because it can cause scratching in the digestive tract. even if i had been willing to risk death or a punctured intestine, the soup tasted of nothing but BAY. well, bay and all the salt i added to try to mask it. so, into the disposal it went, while i battled the heartache of all that waste.
last night, i tried again. seeing no need to risk repeating my mistake, i let the bay leaves remain cozily in their jar. 

while onions and potatoes are still available at the farmers markets, i had to (or, was lucky enough to) pull some ingredients out of storage. sweet corn and red peppers in january-- hoorah for summer preservation! 

i substituted fresh thyme from the garden for the rosemary (i found the rosemary a little aggressive in the first batch), and used organic 1% milk to keep it light. the soup was deee-licious, and even though we went a little bacon-crazy on the accompanying salad, it turned out to be a good let's-not-undo-all-the-progress-made-on-the-exercise-bike meal.

corn and potato chowder 
adapted from edible seattle, fall 2008 

1 cup corn
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3/4" cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp butter or oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup lowfat milk

heat butter in soup pot over medium heat. cook onion, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. add potato, corn, thyme, and stock, and simmer partially covered until potatoes are tender and beginning to break down (this will thicken the soup), about 20-30 minutes. or, cook just until potatoes are tender and partially blend to thicken.

stir in milk, and season well with salt and pepper.

corn and red peppers from alvarez farms 
potatoes from olsen farms 


  1. I found your recipe on foodgawker and I made it tonight, it was delicious! Thank you! I used frozen corn and frozen red peppers because I live in France and it is winter, and nothing else is available. Being American, I miss corn so much living here in Europe where it is eaten very rarely, so I knew I had to make this soup! I added some frozen greenbeans also because I like something green in a soup that has two starches and it was a great touch. Also I used water instead of stock because I didn't have any, and it still was delicious. Again, thanks for a great recipe!

  2. oh yay, so glad you liked it, humming*bird! and thanks for the reminder to be grateful to live in corn territory. :)

  3. I knew you had posted a corn chowder. Gonna make this to take to a pot luck tomorrow night.

  4. let me know how it goes, tyler!