Wednesday 28 March 2012

Potato-Corn Chowder

From Fields of Greens, Annie Somerville, Bantam Books, 1993.

Recipes that come from the Greens restaurant have always been ones that have pleased. The restaurant stays as one of the top memories from a visit to San Francisco. So it was somewhat of a surprise to find that this particular recipe didn’t come up with the goods. It was all right but bland and with the amount of cooking involved should have been better.

To start a corn stock had to be made. The instructions suggested that a corn soup required a corn stock otherwise the soup would not maintain its colour. So corn was shucked from 4 cobs and saved for the soup while the cobs were broken into several pieces and tossed into a pot of water with some vegetables and seasonings and simmered for an hour. This was then strained and the stock was ready.

For the next stage half of the corn had to be placed into a pot with a couple of cups of the stock. Half of the total amount of potatoes were also placed into the pot with salt and pepper. This was cooked until the potatoes were soft. It was then pureed and placed through a sieve. This puree then went into the pot with the remainder of the stock. A bay leaf was added and the mixture was cooked gently for a little longer. The puree thickened the soup and meant that cream was not needed, as is usually the case.

The next stage was to fry chopped onion, dried basil and thyme in butter and olive oil with salt and pepper. When the onions had softened the remaining vegetables were added: garlic, celery, diced potatoes and the remaining corn. These were sautéed until tender. White wine was added and the cooking continued until almost dry. 

The contents of the frying pan were now added to the soup to simmer for another 20 minutes. Chopped basil was added and it was ready.

It was disappointing to have so much work turn out to be such a pale version of a corn chowder. There was nothing wrong with it but a lack of real flavour.

Taste: ✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔

1 comment:

  1. I tried this recipe and came to the same conclusion you did, just not worth the effort. However I've retained the idea (which hadn't previously occurred to me) of using corncobs in veggie stock. They take a while to extract flavour from if simmered, but put in a pressure cooker with other bits of veg, they give a surprisingly good flavour, sweet, a bit corn-ish and a bit smoky. I've no idea why using the PC alters their flavour so, but the stock has been useful.