'Great chowder, Mum', said Hella, between hungry mouthfuls. 'I love a good chowder,' she said wistfully, to herself.
Some recipes have an elaborate backstory or are the result of exciting inspiration, but this chowder was one of those 'trying to use up a few bits in the fridge' creation, which worked out really well. A real-life Ready Steady Cook success story. And doesn't everyone love a good chowder?
What is a chowder?
A chowder is a thick, creamy soup often containing fish and corn and usually involving potatoes. There are a lot of recipes that use flour (or crushed crackers?!) to thicken the soup, but I prefer to use the inherent creaminess of the potatoes to do the work. The Smoked Haddock and Sweetcorn Chowder that I served at a lunch for my extended family is, without doubt, the most popular soup in my repertoire, but there's a chance that this 'cousin' may be a robust competitor. It has a cosy, velvety base but rings the changes with a handful of cooked, shredded chicken.
Here's how to make it -
- Sauté a chopped onion.
- Add some peeled and cubed potatoes.
- Cover with chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
- Purée a bit of the soup (including both solids and some liquid) to create the creaminess. Return the pureéd soup to the pan and stir well to combine.
- Add the shredded chicken and sweetcorn to the pan and stir well.
- Check for seasoning and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
- Serve and bathe in the glory ...
Here's what I've learned about making this Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder -
- There's no great need to be precise with your ingredient quantities. Use what you have and enjoy the flexibility.
- Homemade chicken stock is ideal but packet or powdered or cubes are also fine.
- Leftover little bits of chicken are perfect for this (you know, the 'crumbs' from a roast or the bits at the end of a rotisserie chicken).
- Those slightly sad, wrinkly potatoes are good enough for this chowder.
- I use a stick blender for the pureéing - I do it in the pan and just blitz in one place for a few seconds (saves on washing up). If you're a bit scared that you might blitz too much, you could ladle some soup into a separate bowl and purée it separately. A jug blender or a Nutri Bullet would also work well.
- Adjust the amount of stock you use according to how thick vs loose you like your chowder.
- The parsley garnish is a vibrant, visual lift before serving. In my world, garnish is always an act of self-love. And add it just before serving to keep that green as bright as possible
And these are my favourite things about this Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder
- It's a delicious, filling comforting soup - with cosy and nourishing vibes in equal measures.
- This is a very forgiving, adaptable recipe and is a great way of using up some fridge bits. I think it might also be nice with a sliced-up cooked sausage added in - only if you happen to have one hanging around, of course.
- I do love the pureéing technique for making a velvety soup base. I don't especially enjoy a smooth soup - give me chunky any day - but I do sometimes want the base of my soup to be a bit more substantial without the need for flour (or crushed crackers?!). This is the answer.
- It's also great value as it makes a delicious meal out of not very much.
- Re-heats nicely and works well in a food flask.
- I can vouch for it being enjoyed by teenagers and I'm confident that parents and grandparents would be fans. Toddlers are the tricky ones, but I think it has potential; definite potential.
- Fancy enough for an occasion (garnish being the key, of course) but also does well as a low key 'I just threw this together while we were chatting' kind of lunch.
- Oh, and in case you didn't catch it the first time, it's really, really delicious. Are you sold yet?
In the spirit of daydreaming about travelling again, I'm excited about hopefully soon travelling to Cape Cod and enjoying a bowl of the exceptional Clam Chowder from Moby Dick's (where you always have to queue to get a table and where I think they do subscribe to the crushed crackers approach ...). And if it doesn't happen anytime soon, I can at least recreate something close to that velvety gorgeousness at home with this Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder. Doesn't everyone love a good chowder?Print