June 2019 Appalachian Recipe of the Month

Sweet Summer Vegetables, mmmmmmmmmm! Smoky bacon, sweet corn, sharp Cheddar and tasty scallions make for a killer chowder combination

Sweet Summer Vegetables, mmmmmmmmmm! Smoky bacon, sweet corn, sharp Cheddar and tasty scallions make for a killer chowder combination

 
 

Ladle up with a mouthwatering Corn-Cheddar Chowder

Nothing is more enjoyable on a bright summer day than a serving of nicely cooked vegetables fresh off the vine. Such was the great eating delight of southern mountain people during the sweaty hard months of the year. Hill country gardens, brimming over with the season’s bounty and situated close to homesteads, enabled housewives to fill their aprons full of beans, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers and such for sumptuous midday repasts.
— Mrs. Hill’s Southern Practical Cookery and Receipt Book (circa 1820)
 

This recipe comes from one of the many handed down to my mother and grandmother years ago

TIP: So they retain their freshness, and still have some bite but don’t become mushy, the sweet corn kernels just need to be heated through briefly.

Makes 6 servings (about 45 minutes total)

Cook:

8 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced

1 cup diced onions

1 cup diced green bell peppers (you may use red peppers, but I find it overwhelms the other flavors in this recipe)

1Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

STIR IN:

1/3 cup all -purpose flour

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

12 oz. red-skinned potatoes, cubed (about 2.5 cups)

5 ears fresh sweet corn, chucked, kernels cut from cobs (about 4 cups kernels) ; cobs reserved

1 dried bay leaf

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

ADD:

2 cups half-and-half

7 oz. shredded sharp white Cheddar (about 2.5 cups) I use premium aged

2 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened

Salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

GARNISH:

Sliced scallions

COOK:

Bacon in a large pot until crisp; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1/4 cup drippings.

SWEAT:

Onions, bell peppers, and garlic in drippings until softened, about 5 minutes.

STIR IN:

Flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Whisk in broth, then add potatoes, corn cobs, bay leaf, and cayenne; bring to a boil over high heat.

REDUCE: Heat to medium-low; simmer soup until potatoes are fork-tender, 10 - 12 minutes. Discard corn cobs and bay leaf.

ADD: Corn kernels, half-and-half, Cheddar, by the handful, and cream cheese. Simmer soup until cheeses melt, stirring often; season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

GARNISH: Servings with scallions and bacon.