Friday, February 1, 2008

smoky corn chowder (goes healthy)

I found the following recipe for Smoky Corn Chowder in a recent issue of Real Simple and just had to try it. We had it tonight and it was a big hit, plus it was really easy! I altered it a bit, part by choice and part by accident, and the altered version was not only healthier but also totally delicious. Here's the original Smoky Corn Chowder recipe with my changes.

Smoky Corn Chowder
8 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used turkey bacon, which I don't love on its own but it was great in this recipe!)
1 large sweet onion, chopped (I used about 1/2 to 2/3 of an onion since my family's not big on onions)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 10-ounce packages frozen corn (I had a 32-oz. bag so I used 5 cups)
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half-and-half (Forgot to pick this up at the store so I used 1 cup skim milk and 1 T melted salted butter; added a little more milk towards the end as the soup thickened a bit)
Kosher salt and pepper
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings and return the pot to medium heat. (Okay, the turkey bacon left little to no drippings so I used 2 T canola oil.) Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, and red pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the corn, broth, and half-and-half (or skim milk and butter) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. (Be careful or the lid may pop off and create a huge mess down the sides of the blender, on the counter, and on your recipe book...) Return to the pot, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stir to combine, and heat through.

Divide the soup among individual bowls and top with the scallions and reserved bacon. Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Served with a side of whole-grain French bread, this was the perfect meal to warm us up on a wintry day. With more snow around the corner I'll leave you with this food for thought by Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.

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