Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Corn & Cheese Chowder

So, the entire time I was preparing, eating, and tidying up after enjoying this meal, Stanley Tucci's immortal words were blaring in my head:

But the Goddess Divine of all Cookery a.k.a. Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman said that her recipe is the best.  I simply couldn't resist, Stanley Tucci's warning be darned!  And let me tell you, I had a religious experience whilst eating this soup.  Josh literally said he was having a French party up in his mouth.  When I asked him why, he said that my soup smelled like the France section of the World Showcase at EPCOT.  Whatever.  Here's what you'll need:

4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
3 cups of chicken broth
1 onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
5 ears of sweet corn
1/3 cup of green onions
2 cups of half & half
5 pieces of bacon
2 cups of Monterrey jack cheese
2 cups of cheddar cheese
salt & pepper
*heart shaped bowl full of Reese's Hearts is totally optional

First, you need to dice up that onion.  Here's a mini-lesson on how to do that:

Chop the ends off and peel off all the papery stuff.  It's not tasty.
 Stand the onion on one end and slice in half.
 Then slice it this-a-way.  You're going to make several horizontal slices

 Then, you're going to make several vertical slices all the way across the onion.

 Now you're ready to slice and dice this baby.  Simply begin at one end of the onion and carefully slice across.  Be sure to curl your fingers back so you don't accidentally add those into the mix. 

 And you're done!
Now you need 4 tablespoons of butter into your stockpot.  

 Now to the peppers.  I find that people waste a lot of bell peppers when they cut them up.  Here's how to avoid that.  First, cut the top off.

 Then rip out the guts.  That's incredibly therapeutic. 
Please ignore the chipped nail polish.
Then you can slice it into manageable pieces.

 Cut out the white parts.  Clean out the seeds.
 Use the heel of your palm to flatten out the "bumps."
 Then slice into super thin strips.

 Then, gather several strips together.  And ignore my stubby fingers. 
 Dice, dice, dice...I need a manicure...

 Check on your onions and butter.  If it looks like this, it's time to add the bacon.
 And instead of pulling out another cutting board and knife, just use your meat shears and "slice" it directly into your stockpot. 

 Random question:  Does it freak anybody else out when a bell pepper has a bulbous thing growing inside it?  Josh refused to eat it because it's "bell pepper cancer." 

 Toss those puppies in and let all the ingredients become BFFs.
 And now the corn.  Here's a neat trick to make it easier to cut the corn off the cob.  Place a small mug in a large mixing bowl. 
 Then place the corn {free of husk and silk} on the mug and slice downward. 

 Easy!  {My husband actually did this}.

 Toss those puppies into the pot.
 Then add in the 1/4 cup of flour.
Mix, mix, mix.
 Then dump in the 3 cups of chicken broth.  Let this bubble over medium high heat for 5 minutes.
 Now it's time to add in the half & half {all 2 cups of it}.
 Be sure to lower the heat to low before pouring the half & half in.  Then slap a lid on your stockpot and let this simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Now is the time to add in the salt and pepper.
 Remember that little trick I showed you with the green onions?  It totally works!  Chop up some green onions for garnish, darlings.

 And now the cheeses.  Le sigh.  2 cups of Monty Jack, 2 cups of cheddar cheese. 
 Dump it in.
 Stir it up.

You can find Ree Drummond's original recipe here.  I changed a few things from her original recipe mainly to fit what my refrigerator held.  The corn shucking, silking, and cutting was not fun, but totally worth it.  The base of this chowder would be great for a host of things:  shrimp, chicken, potatoes, etc.  What would you add or change?

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