January 20, 2015
We’re approximately ⅔ of the way through January, which means a good many of you have spent the past 20 or so days torturing yourselves in the name of self-improvement, usually some form of weightloss. Rather than do this the sensible way, through moderation, most people restrict themselves under the vague puritanical notion that virtue is the fruit of sacrifice.
As a result, how many kale smoothies have you had today? Four? Seven? Are you so kale-drunk on all that kale that you’ve lost both the ability to count and any inkling of what it means to chew things? That’s no way to live, which is why we’re going to make corn chowder, a delightful soup that contains -- gasp -- actual friggin calories and nutrients. The cool thing about this soup is that it requires only a modicum of cooking knowledge, and just a single pot. To make corn chowder, you will need:
First, hack your bacon into little strips. I use 5-6 slices of the really thick good stuff, but you may want to use more or less (of course, Halal/Kosher betches are welcome to use turkey bacon, with my condolences). Haul out your biggest-ass stock pot, put your bacon in it, and turn the heat to medium. Stir the bacon periodically as it renders, and don’t worry much if it sticks in places.
Hack your carrots into rounds about ⅜ of an inch thick, and do the same with the celery. Dice your onion. Check your bacon. It should be done (that is, nice and crispy) in 10 minutes or so. Get it out of the pot with a slotted spoon and let it rest on some paper towels. Dump your chopped vegetables into the remaining bacon fat (you may have to add some if you used turkey bacon), along with generous pinches of salt, pepper and chili flakes. Stir it up, and get to chopping more shit.
While your vegetables sweat, peel your potatoes and hack them into cubes, no more than an inch or so on each side. give your vegetables regular stirs, and when the onions have softened and turned translucent, get the potatoes into the pot.
Adding liquid is where things will vary based on the size and number of your potatoes and the size of your pot. In my pot, with my shit, it took about 25 ounces of chicken stock and 18 ounces of beer. I went with Trader Joe’s “Simpler Times” lager because it’s cheap and it’s sweetness works well here, but use whatever light beer you have. The point is, use a combination of those two liquids to cover your potatoes by about a half inch, deglazing any browned bits off the bottom with your spoon. Bring it to a boil and then immediately back it down to a simmer. Let it go until the potatoes are fork tender (but not soft enough for eating), about 15 minutes.
Almost done! Once the potatoes are tender, put the bacon back in, a 1 lb bag of corn, and two cups of by-God half and half. If you are a serious health-nut weenie, I guess you could use whole milk, but seriously: Use half and half, and live a little for once in your life. Technically, you have completed chowder once this comes back up to a simmer, but if you wanted to let it simmer for another half hour or so for the flavors to mingle, that would be a pretty good idea you had there.
That’s it. This recipe creates a massive amount of corn chowder, but it freezes well for consumption at a later date. Eat a whole bowl for dinner on a picturesquely wintery day, or pair a small bowl with a salad or half sandwich as the decadent component to an otherwise sensible meal. More importantly, feel the fat, the sweet corn and the slight piquancy from the chili flakes course through your veins - this is how life was meant to feel, virtue be damned.