This recipe has quite the claim to fame: it won the church bake-off back in 1994. (It was submitted by a parishioner named Michelle Henseleit and I think she is a genius.)
Well: wouldn't you want to try a recipe that comes first in a church bake-off?
Right, I would. And I did, back in the mid '90s when it was hot off the presses.
And you know what?
It has never let me down. It is the best corn chowder I have ever had the pleasure to slurp up . . . even without the crumbled bacon bit garnish. (That was back when I was an ideological teenage vegetarian and didn't know what I was missing.)
This recipe has served me well: for dinner and for leftovers for lunch.
I made it in university in Halifax and Victoria.
I made it when I lived in Vancouver in a house with five adults and a baby, and the men who sat around the dinner table shocked this sheltered girl with their giant appetites.
I made it in our apartment in Ottawa when we had forgotten how cold a real winter could be and needed something warm and creamy to defrost our fingers and toes.
Now, I make it in our little apartment back in Victoria and my husband says with a happy sigh, "I always like chowders." (I take it this is a hint.)
It's an easy-going recipe: fry a bit of this, add some stock and cream, cook a bit, add the corn and wine, stir in copious amounts of aged cheddar. Oh, and a bit of freshly-grated nutmeg. Crumble bacon bits on top.
Did you hear all that?
Cream. Corn. Wine. Nutmeg. Aged Cheddar. Bacon bits.
Right. So now you know why this won the bake-off and why you probably need to make it for dinner tonight.
One year ago: Grand Forks borscht
Two years ago: Canadian boterkoek and sophisticated marshmallow squares
cheddar corn chowder
3 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 large potato, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground sage
2 c. (500 ml) chicken stock
1 c. (250 ml) 10% cream
1/2 c. (125 ml) milk
1 1/2 c. corn (frozen or canned)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. white wine
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. green onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. aged cheddar cheese, grated
4 – 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Heat heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Melt the butter, and add the onion, potato, bay leaf, cumin and sage. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the onion has softened.
Pour in the stock, cream and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so it simmers. Cook until the potato is tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Add the corn, nutmeg, wine and most of the parsley and green onion. Simmer for 5 more minutes until it's heated through. Take the bay leaf out.
Stir in the cheese, a bit at a time. Heat until the cheese is melted, but don't let it boil (or it might be difficult and separate on you). Serve with crumbled bacon bits and some of that parsley and green onion you kept.