The pickle man

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day Comfort Food Part 2 - Cheddar Corn Chowder

No school (YEA!)

No snow (sniff)

No electricity ($&*?!?!)

Yep, that's pretty much how my day went.

They closed the schools last night, getting my son's hopes tremendously high with predictions of 2 to 4 inches of snow.

I realize that in other parts of the country, there are serious problems and inconveniences caused by the powdery white stuff, but down here, we pray for it to fall.

My son is a little spoiled because last year we had a record snow fall of 4 inches!  This made the event the fifth most snowfall since record keeping began in our area, according to the local news.  Since that was the first winter he really remembered, he now expects snow like that every year.

This morning, of course, we awoke to really cold drizzly rain, beautiful frozen trees, and ugly soggy brown grass.  Sigh.

On the bright side, the baby looked super cute in his fuzzy hat.

And my older son had fun scraping ice off my car with a plastic axe from "Dollar Treat."

On the not so bright side, a lot of frozen rain accumulated on the tree branches (not on the ground).  One of those branches snapped and fell on a power line a few houses down, so we lost power for the afternoon.  Since we have a fireplace, and it really wasn't that  cold, this wouldn't have been so bad ... EXCEPT it was during nap time and I was in the middle of making bread! 

So, I called my cousin, promised her homemade bread in exchange for central heat and the use of her oven, and threw the half-risen loaves and the half-awake children in the car.

Our sons made Valentines together, the bread baked, and we were warm.

When I got home (after the electricity was back on), we ate cheddar corn chowder.  It was delicious.

Recipe, adapted from Ina Garten (original is here!)

Side note - I sent some to my mom's and she called to say the "bisque" was amazing.  I told her that merely being made in Louisiana did NOT make a chowder into a bisque.  Bisque doesn't have potatoes.

8 ounces bacon
3 large yellow onions, diced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (not essential, but it gives it a beautiful yellow color) 
10 cups chicken stock (homemade or a good boxed kind - I used half homemade and half Swanson) 
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
3 pounds frozen corn
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound sharp cheddar  cheese, grated
1/2 tsp sherry, stirred into a bowl when serving (optional)

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it is crispy. Remove the bacon to some paper towels to drain and cool. If you want to use this as a garnish later, hide it from your kids/ husband/ dogs/ anything else that has a tendency to wander through your kitchen.

Leave the bacon fat in the pot and reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft and brown.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with sherry, if desired. 

Serve hot with some crumbled bacon on top.  That is, if you have any bacon left.  I did not.  My son found it and ate it all.

And some French bread, saved from an untimely death by power-outage. 

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