Debbie Dance Uhrig
This past week after all the rains in Southwest Missouri I decided it was time for a ‘soup’ night. When I asked my husband, Ervin, what he would like he picked corn chowder. I decided to ‘finally’ record how I make the dish. Usually each time I follow about the same outline, this week I finally wrote it down!
Let’s jump in and look at several of the ingredients. And, you guessed it, look at how we can personally modify. I think the first subject should be the cheese of choice. Swiss is about the lowest sodium cheese you can consume. However since ‘smoked’ was used there may be additional nitrates and sodium within.
Smoke flavoring may not appeal to every cook. If it doesn’t, eliminate smoked cheese all together. In its place use Farmer’s Cheese or mild cheddar. Actually I was afraid to label the recipe, ‘Smoked Corn Chowder’. Knowing that not everyone enjoys smoked taste, I felt it might keep some from trying the recipe.
I would say 90% of the time I smoke my own cheese for cooking use.
Corn, me oh my, if its summertime and corn season use fresh corn in this dish. Don’t worry about the creamed corn, instead use about 3-4 cups of regular fresh corn, cut from the cob.
Red Peppers/Onions: If you have a garden full of green peppers I wouldn’t hesitate to use them. On the onion I like a sweet white onion, but a finally diced red would be so bad either. The red onion would definitely bring in color.
Dairy: If using half and half is too many calories, return to only milk and no cream. However there will be a taste and creamy difference.
You will notice there is a small amount of salt added to the recipe directly. If you do not use salt free chicken stock it would be best to eliminate the additional salt.
Pepper, you want to use black instead of ground white, go for it!
Kielbasa sausage: I think the recipe is best with kielbasa, but if there’s still a bit of Easter ham hiding out in your deep freezer, this would be a good place to implement. With the kielbasa you will find various flavors, nice particularly if you have people with special dietary needs. For those who like a spicier approach to the soup, you’ll easily find jalapeno kielbasa.
As you approach the slurry, there are two different choices. I like my chowder with some body, but not too much. If you lean the other direction go with the four tablespoons, for the slurry. Phillip, our son, was pulled into the completion of this recipe, and he likes it ‘very’ thick. Because the chowder is so strong on ingredients, I prefer only 3 tablespoons. You call it here!
What’s a slurry? Any time you thicken you use either a wet slurry or a dry slurry. When you make sausage gravy it’s usually a dry slurry. This would be when you work the flour into the meat, before adding the milk.
One doesn’t like to sound boastful, but this chowder is delicious. I was thinking I would get another bowl this evening, but Phillip beat me to the kitchen.
The sun is finally shining in the Ozarks, give the waters a couple more days to settle, and the fish will be biting. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup – 1 cup finely chopped onion
1 red pepper, chopped small
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped, (optional)
1 can regular corn, drained
1 lb. kielbasa or ham of your choice
(Cut kielbasa rounds in half, then slice-)
3 cups chicken stock, (salt-free was used)
3 large potatoes
3 tablespoons dry parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 can creamed corn
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup smoked Swiss cheese, cut into small cubes
3-4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup additional half and half for wet slurry
Serves 6 portions as a main entrée or 12 as the first course.
Sauté onion, red pepper and optional celery in butter. When tender add corn and lightly sauté. Stir in sliced kielbasa (chunks of ham may be substituted) and continue stirring. Dice 3 large potatoes into small pieces. I left the skin/jackets on, proceed as you prefer. Add 3 cups of stock and potatoes to the stockpot.
Also bring in salt, pepper, thyme and dry parsley. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat until potatoes are tender; when soft introduce the creamed corn. Add 1 cup of milk and 1 1/2 cups of half and half. Lastly stir in the smoked Swiss cheese. Keep over medium/medium low heat. Stir frequently to keep chowder from getting too hot and to get the cheese melted. When the contents are pretty warm prepare the slurry with the flour and additional half and half. Whisk or blend until no lumps appear. Pour into warm soup to thicken.
Serve with crackers, green onions or parsley on top.
My family gave this great reviews this past weekend. Be sure and read additional comments about this recipe, inside the column dialogue.