Monday, April 1, 2013

Corn and Kale Chowder

This is a good recipe for spring. It's still been pretty chilly around here and we're practically in the southern half of the U.S. It uses kale, which is coming on (ours is just starting to look alive again). But it also uses corn. You can use frozen and I did. (I bet you can even use canned.) But if you have this during the summer, you can roast ears of corn and potentially make yourself the most butt-kicking corn chowder ever.

Corn and Kale Chowder
adapted from Good Life Eats
Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep and cook time: 40 minutes
Cost: $4.35 (or about: $.50/serving)
butter: .25, onion: .10, garlic: .05, flour: .04, milk: .26, cream: .50, chicken broth: .30, potato: .10, corn: 2.00, kale: .25, sausage: 50

Note: You can sub 2 1/2 C whole milk for the milk and cream mentioned below
Note: I used 1 1/2 C chopped kale and desperately longed for more. The recipe below reflects that longing.
Note: 1 C chicken broth will make your chowder thick and chowdery. Add more if you want it soupier. (Ours was chowdery.)
Note: If it's summer and you want to roast your corn, here's how: Heat oven to 425. Grease cobs with olive oil or butter. Place on cooking sheet (lined with parchment if you want dish duty to be easier). Cook, turning frequently for 20-30 minutes or until cobs have some brownish spots on them. Remove from oven. Cool. Take off corn. You'll need 2 1/2 C or about 5 cobs worth of corn.

3-4 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced small (or a decent dose of onion powder for the onion haters--start with 1/2 tsp and then add more to taste at the end)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C flour
2 C milk
1/2 C cream
1-2 C chicken broth (or veggie broth for a vegetarian soup)
1 large potato, peeled and diced (we used red)
2 1/2 C frozen corn, dethawed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash cayenne pepper, optional
dash nutmeg, optional
3 C chopped kale
2 links sausage or a few strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Melt butter. Add onions and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add flour. Cook 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Add cream and chicken broth.

Add diced potatoes and corn. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. I cut my potatoes small so they cook faster and because I don't like a big ol' bite a potato in my soups.

While it simmers, cook your bacon or sausage if using. Once cooked, chop small.

Also, chop your kale and put it in a microwave-safe bowl with a bit of water (2-4 Tbsp). Cover this with plastic wrap and cook 2-3 minutes in the microwave. The kale will wilt. Drain off the water. Note: I do this because sometimes kale is bitterish. If you cook it and pour off the water, the bitter goes with that water (yes, with a few nutrients as well, but those nutrients won't get eaten if your soup turns out bitter). If you cook the kale in the soup and the kale happens to be bitter, some of that is going to come into your soup and it will not taste quite as good.

When the potatoes are tender, add kale and meat. If it's too thick for you, add more chicken broth. Then add salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings (don't burn your mouth--I hate that).


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