The Gourmet Touch: Chow down on tasty chowders
Oct 22, 2013 | 1392 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the weather gets cooler, a pot of chowder certainly sounds good and corn chowder is my favorite.

Recently, I was thinking about how I could make my corn chowder more flavorful. I decided that instead of cream, I’d try adding a jar of alfredo sauce. This was some of the best corn chowder I have had in a long time.

You will notice that I thickened it with a half butter and half flour. As the butter melts, the chowder thickens with no lumps, not even little ones. This is a great way to thicken puddings also.

About 25 years ago, I was experimenting in the kitchen and decided to make a vegetable chowder. The first thing I had to decide was which veggies would go into the chowder.

Of course, corn and potatoes are chowder staples. To this, I wanted to add some zucchini and a mirepoix. No, mirepoix is not a new kind of vegetable. It is a mixture of three well-known veggies — onions, celery and carrots. When preparing a mirepoix, you want to remember to dice the vegetables into small pieces.

I like to start by cooking finely chopped salt pork until crispy and then sautéing the mirepoix in the drippings, which adds more flavor than using oil. Butter is not good for sautéing because it burns too easily — unless it is clarified butter, that is.

Zucchini cooks rather quickly, so it should not be added until late in the cooking process. This green member of the squash family not only adds flavor but, mixed with the carrots and corn, it makes a very attractive bowl of chowder.

You can’t go wrong with either of these tasty chowders. Just remember to serve either with cornbread.

CORN CHOWDER ALFREDO
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons flour (I used self-rising, but all-purpose can be used)
2 cups unpeeled cubed potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (14.5 ounce) cream style corn
1 jar (15 ounce) creamy alfredo sauce

Combine the 2 tablespoons softened butter with the 2 tablespoons flour and mix until you can't see any flour. Set aside. Combine the potatoes, onions, water, 1/4 cup butter, salt and black pepper. Cook until potatoes are fork tender (not mushy). Add corn and alfredo sauce. Stir in the butter/flour mixture and cook until chowder thickens to the desired consistency.

VEGETABLE CHOWDER
2 to 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes)
4 slices salt pork, cut into small pieces (about 1/4 cup)
2/3 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
1 can (14.5 ounce) cream-style corn
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup half and half

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender but not mushy. Drain the cooked potatoes, saving the liquid. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the potato water. Fry the salt pork in a skillet until browned.

Remove the pork from the skillet and set aside. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the skillet and saute in the drippings until the vegetables are soft but not browned.

In a large Dutch oven combine the potatoes, reserved potato water, salt pork, the sauteed vegetables and the corn. Bring this mixture to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the zucchini and continue cooking over low heat until zucchini is tender. Add the cream slowly. Cook just until the cream is heated

Email Prudence Hilburn at prudencehilburn463@att.net

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