Sunday, May 10, 2015

Chicken Corn Chowder

Alan and I are in the process of shifting our eating habits. It's not a deliberate choice; it's just recognising the changing nature of our appetites and needs as we age. An example is that we often find we definitely want something to eat for supper but we don't have a great appetite for a proper, full meal. What we want is a bowl of very tasty soup with a chunk of buttered bagette on the side. So I've started to make interesting soups and decided to share some recipes with you. The amount I make is good for about 2 meals for 2 people. I'm not into making vast vats of soup which will age and degrade even if frozen. A vat of soup works if you are feeding a horde of indiscriminate guests. But you can't make delicate, elegant broths or silky, creamy veloutes in vat size amounts. You'll also grow weary and bored with even the nicest soup if you have to work your way through a vat of it. The charm of homemade soup is that you can make something that appeals to whatever mood you are in at that moment. And tonight Alan was yearning for Chicken Corn Chowder.

Remember that we're tossing this together so there's no precise measurements. You need a stick blender for this. It's an essential piece of basic kitchen equipment and only costs about $25 (US).

Ingedients for soup base:
Chicken stock - about 1 liter - homemade or bought. I used Tesco Finest Chicken Stock. In NYC I used to use College Inn No Salt. Whatever you use, try to get something that relies on chicken for flavour not yeast. (I find the yeast flavour musty and disgusting not meaty.)
1 onion - 3" yellow or white - peeled and roughly chopped
3 potatoes - peeled and chopped - Floury or Idaho type preferred
1 heaping cup of corn kernels - I used frozen 
1 plump clove garlic
white pepper
sea salt

Ingredients for soup finish:
1 heaping cup corn kernels
leftover cooked chicken - remove all skin, bones, etc and roughly chop into bite size pieces or shreds
double cream

1. Dump chicken stock and veg into a comfortably large pot.
2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer
3. Cover and simmer for 60 min
4. Take the pot off the heat and taste the soup base. Add a bit of white pepper and a sprinkle of salt to taste. Go easy as this is not the final adjustment.
5. Use the stick blender to grind everything to a relatively smooth soup.
6. Smash and chop the clove of garlic to pulp. Add to the soup to taste - keep it subtle, you just want to add a background warmth.
7. Add the additional cup of corn kernels and the shredded chicken.
8. Cover and simmer gently for another 30 min
9. Add some double cream to enrich the soup - 1/4 to 1/2 cup, adjust the salt and pepper. You may want to add a spoon of honey to enhance the sweetness of the corn.
10. You can serve the soup now or cover and allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Bring to a simmer before serving it the next day.

A chunk of bagette with butter goes very nice on the side.