Ok now: white bean potato corn chowder ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

07 July 2010

Ok now: white bean potato corn chowder

So I made some white beans and potatoes into chowder.

I suppose this isn't actually a true chowder; there's no dairy, and I puréed everything except the corn and garnish. So, you know, take that into account. On the other hand, it was pretty damn awesome, and would've been even more so with further raw bits strewn over the top. If it were earlier in spring, a massive handful of pea shoots would've been ideal, for instance. Of course, then there wouldn't have been any fresh corn yet, so you know, you take what you can get. Shredded chard or spinach would clearly be awesome as well.

Awesome awesome. Am I ever going to get rid of my early 90s vocabulary? Signs point to no. Anyway.

White bean potato corn chowder

olive oil
white beans
bean or veg broth
fresh exciting summer corn
salt, pepper, red pepper flake
garnish: red pepper, potential greens, parsley

If you don't have broth, you want to start it first. So get out some big handfuls of vegetable scraps, put them in a pot, cover them with water, and simmer them for ten or fifteen minutes. I personally had white bean broth frozen with cooked white beans, but since I knew I was also going to be boiling potatoes, I decided to make veg broth as well. Water is also an acceptable choice of liquid if you have no broth capabilities.

So, for two people's worth of soup, chop up maybe half a yellow onion (other colors work fine) plus a couple cloves of garlic. Soften them in a big soup pot with some olive oil and red pepper flake (or even a diced actual hot pepper; whatev) while you scrub and dice a handful of potatoes. I was using a new red and yukon gold potato mix; since they were all small, I used about five or six. Clearly, if you have one massive and gargantuan potato, just use that. Peel them if you want; I don't.

When your alliums have softened, you want to get the pan sufficiently full of liquid to cook your potatoes. You could do this in a couple ways; adding two or three cups of broth or water is clearly easiest. I, however, had my aforementioned frozen white beans in broth, so I threw that into the pot to melt before adding additional liquid. If you're using a plain can of beans, just go with the broth.

So. Bring your liquid-filled pot to a boil. Then, and only then, add your potatoes. Otherwise they will take a million years to cook. If you haven't added beans already, add them now. Make sure the liquid covers everything well, season with a little salt and pepper, bring the pot back up to the boil, reduce to a simmer, slap the lid on, and let cook until the potatoes are completely tender. This took about a half hour for me, but will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.

In the meantime, you can shuck an ear or two of exciting summer farmer's market corn. Oh man, fresh corn. I love it. I admit that cutting corn off the cob is a gargantuan bitch, but otherwise, you could not ask for more. To cut corn off cob: hold it up, bracing its end on your cutting surface, and gently cut down the side. Kernels will fly everywhere as well as falling off the cob in big milky solid slabs. I actually saw that the Pioneer Woman was cutting corn off the cob in the middle of a huge stainless steel bowl the other day. That is so clearly a good idea. If only I had one of those sets of giant bowls.

When the potatoes are cooked, pull the pot off the heat and let it cool for a minute before you blitz it with the immersion blender. If you want a more traditional chunky chowder, go ahead and skip this step, or just puree it a little. Stir your corn pieces into the soup, put it back over the heat, and cook until the corn is done to your liking and the soup has reduced to your desired level of thickness. I wanted my corn to stay crunchy and sweet and exciting, so I think I only cooked my batch for about five minutes longer. In the meantime, you can chop up anything you want for garnish. Red pepper is always really good with corn, but you can use whatever you want.

At the last second, correct any necessary seasonings. You're done. Eat it!

In scorching midsummer, such a thing demands a salad. Ours was just butter lettuce with a last-minute fork-whipped dijon vinaigrette. Clearly, practically anything green and crunchy and lettuce-related will work just fine.


eatme_delicious said...

Mmm this looks yummy and satisfying!

eileen said...

thank you!