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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Corn Chowdah ReMiXeD & ReInVeNtEd

Corn Chowder – Soups and Chowders, Pg. 52 – Alice Adams (Mrs. E.C. Adams)

During a trip to the Dartmouth farmers’ market a couple of weeks ago, fresh valley grown corn was plentiful – what better time to test this recipe! Corn Chowder can be made any time of year, but why not take advantage of ingredients at their freshest. Corn is harvested in Nova Scotia August through October, so if you’re local, now is a great time to give this recipe a whirl.

One of the things we’ve found as we work our way through the Dutch Oven cookbook is that some of the recipes are very basic…and sometimes very plain. Part of the reason being a lot of the ingredients we have access to today were not as accessible or were very expensive in the “olden days”. As a result, we will occasionally make modifications to some of the recipes, only to enhance them of course (don’t send any hate mail). This was one of those recipes that was screaming for a makeover – we may have gone a bit extreme, but we think you’ll really enjoy it. Since we modified this recipe quite significantly, we’ve include it below.

No offence Mrs. Adams, I’m sure your chowder is wonderful - we’ve just made it slightly better! We took a few suggestions from our good friend Beth Hansen-Gillis of the Lunenburg Hansens – self proclaimed snow pudding queen; she will be featured in an upcoming Dutch Oven Diaries post. Beth makes fantastic corn chowder and gave us some great tips!


•6 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 to 8 large ears) or frozen kernels(thawed)
•3 cups low-salt chicken broth
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 onion (finely chopped or grated)
•1 pound (about 3 medium) peeled potatoes cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
•2 teaspoons dried thyme
•2 cups homogenized milk (blend or cream could also be used)
•Smoked sausage - cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 cup)

The Dutch Oven recipe calls for 1.5 cups of canned corn – seems like a waste when we have access to the fresh stuff – and this recipe definitely doesn’t call for enough; this is “corn” chowder after all. You could use frozen, but definately ditch the canned stuff. Although we’ve kept the liquid amounts the same, we’re using chicken broth instead of water (for added flavor) and using less milk and more broth.

The biggest change to this recipe that we made was the addition of sausage. Little Fish, a restaurant in Halifax, used to be one of our favorite hot spots for lunch. They served wicked corn chowder with chorizo sausage. The sausage boosts the chowder’s hearty factor and gives it an awesome smokey flavor. This restaurant underwent some changes recently, and sadly the corn chowder left with the restaurant’s name – the restaurant has now been re-opened as "The Grill" located downstairs from its big sister, Five Fishermen.

The addition of sausage is completely optional, but it really does take this chowder from average to AWESOME! Personally we find the chorizo a bit spicy – our friends at Sweet William's (located at both the Dartmouth and Halifax Farmers’ Markets) suggested the Cajun smoked, which was perfect! Obviously if you want to make this recipe vegetarian, just substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth and omit the sausage.


•Blend 3 cups corn kernels and 1 1/2 cups broth in processor to coarse puree. Transfer to large bowl. (this is to thicken the chowder, many recipes call for creamed corn – the Dutch Oven recipe didn’t call for either)
•Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes - transfer sausage to small bowl.
•Add onion and remaining 3 cups corn kernels to same skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium-high heat until onion begins to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potatoes and stir until potatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer corn mixture to a large pot. Add dried thyme, pureed corn mixture, and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add milk and sausage. Simmer uncovered until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season chowder to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer longer to thicken, if desired. If more liquid is needed, add more milk. Garnish with fresh tyme and serve!

We’ve remixed and reinvented this recipe a bit, but all for the better. It's definitely a little fussier then the recipe you'll find in the Dutch Oven Cookbook, but well worth the extra effort!