Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A nice summer dinner

The corn chowder with adaptations turned out nicely. Notice I didn't say spectacularly--it isn't one of those firecracker dishes that has you jumping out of your seat and assaulting the cook for the recipe. It is gentle summer food that highlights fresh ingredients and isn't so rich that you feel ill in the heat afterwards. But it was a decidedly nice dinner.

I paired the soup with steamed green beans and baguette:

The garnish is really essential to the flavor of the soup--basil, chives and tomatoes boost up the creamy mildness of the chowder. I think without the garnish the soup might be percieved as blah. I didn't think of adding a little tobasco sauce until dinner was over, but I'll be shaking a little on when I eat the leftovers for lunch today.

Corn and Shrimp Chowder

2 slices of slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cups diced onion
2 large carrots, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 red-skin potatoes, diced
3 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 t fresh thyme, chopped
6 ears of corn, kernels cut off, cobs reserved
1/4 C white wine
1 1/2 C evaporated milk (1 can)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
10 oz rock shrimp (frozen is fine—thaw them under running cold water)

Essential Garnish: 1 large tomato, diced; chopped fresh chives (about 3 T); chopped fresh basil (about 1/2 C), few drops tobasco sauce

Cook bacon in a frying pan over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper to bacon fat and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour all the chicken broth into a stock pot. Add white wine and about 1 C water. Now using a knife, hold each corn cob over the broth and scrape the cob to get the rest of the good corniness out and into the broth. Then drop the scraped cob into the broth. When you have done this with all the cobs, simmer the cobs 5-10 minutes in the stock. Remove the cobs. (This extra step--while a slight pain in the butt--will yield a big result in the flavor base of the soup).

Add potatoes and thyme to the broth and simmer, covered, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Add the bacon and sautéed vegetables, the corn kernels and the condensed milk and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add sea salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and serve the soup when they are cooked through (about 2 minutes). If you make the soup ahead of time, wait to add the shrimp 'till the end or you will end up with tough little wads of vaguely shrimpy-flavored chewing gum.

Serve with a copious quantity of basil, chives and tomato on top. Add a few shakes of tobasco if you like.

1 comment:

keelyerin said...

kate,

it was great actually meeting you in person tonight at sweetwaters - i've been blogstalking you for awhile (and it's a wonder i haven't had to replace my keyboard after the constant drooling over food photos) having come over from lynne's blog.

and thanks for commenting :) it's nice to know i'm not the only one who thinks pottery barn isn't the end to which all dwellings must aspire :)

here is the link i was telling you about - casting on was the part of the 2 socks on 1 circ that didn't make sense - once i got this down, it was easy breezy.

http://files.blog-city.com/files/aa/3830/b/2on1n.html

cheers!

keely