This morning Nicholas and I watched an episode of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals and after I saw her make Corn Chowder, our plan for dinner quickly came together. She actually called it Corn Choup, explaining that it was her made-up word for something that is thinner than a chowder and thicker than a soup. Although I am all for made-up words, enough already. EVOO? Fine. Sammies? Ok. Stoup (thinner than a stew and thicker than a soup) was pushing it, and I refuse to go the next step to choup. So it’s Corn Chowder, thankyouverymuch. Nicholas said she was acting funny in this episode … she explained the definition of choup at least three times and burned a kitchen towel. I thought it was funny that he was getting annoyed by her – maybe it was too early in the morning for a taste of Rachael Ray.
OK, so onto the Corn Chowder… true to form, it came together in under 30 minutes with no problem. I upped the bacon (hello!) and the corn, nixed the olive oil (do we really need to cook bacon in fat?) and made a few other teeny changes along the way. It was pronounced delicious all around. She suggested the addition of a splash of hot sauce as serving it, which was perfect. Instead of her addition of popped popcorn as a topping, I went with a little grated cheese that was just right.
An ideal way to kick off soup season, and perfect for a weeknight or weekend meal. If you can sneak the veggies past your kids, all the better, but good luck!
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I nixed)
4 slices bacon, chopped (I used six)
1 onion, chopped
4 to 5 large ears corn, scraped from cob or 1 box frozen corn (I used a 24 oz bag, although she suggested 16 oz during the show)
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, chopped
1 pound small potatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf
5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (I used light cream)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a couple of generous handfuls
A few dashes hot sauce, to taste
Oyster crackers or white Cheddar popcorn, to pass at table (I topped with a little bit of grated cheese)
Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add bacon to hot oil and cook until crisp at edges. Add onions and corn, zucchini and potatoes and bell pepper as you get them chopped. Also add to the soup pot the bay leaf, thyme sprigs, paprika, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes to begin to soften the vegetables. Sprinkle flour into the pot, stir and cook 1 minute. Stir in the stock and let it come up to a bubble and thicken up a bit. Then stir in cream, parsley and hot sauce, to taste, and simmer 5 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve with crackers or popcorn to float on top.