Each winter, one of the local cafes here, has the most delicious soup for sale. So delicious, it is made fresh each day and served from a slow cooker, it sells out before 10am. It is Potato, Leek and Bacon Chowder. Served with a bread roll. It is thick, creamy, full of leek and bacon, and thickened with potato. It is a meal almost in itself.
I have had a hankering for something similar from my childhood, for the last few days. When I was a child, I used to love it when my Mum would make Potato and Corn Chowder for dinner, in the middle of winter. I tend to switch it up a bit now and then, and today was one of those days.
The other day, I happened to be browsing the reduced to clear shelf in the chilled section of the local supermarket, and happened across a smoked chicken breast for $4 *normnally $9.99*, and 400gm Heller middle bacon for $4 *normally $8.99*. Of course, I snapped that up!! Today’s chowder would have some of these in it.
So dinner for Miss 5 and I tonight was Smoked Chicken, Bacon, Potato and Corn Chowder.
This is a thick hearty soup and this recipe makes a decent quantity for a family of 4 or 5. You can make it vegetarian if you like (Miss 20 doesn’t like chowder so she had something else), but it is easy to make from pantry staples, and looks impressive to serve to dinner guests as well.
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes, then boiled.
1 onion, finely diced
1/3 C plain flour
200gm bacon rashers, finely sliced (optional)
200gm smoked chicken breast, sliced (optional)
2 C milk
1 C chicken stock (use vegetable stock if not including meat)
1 – 2 tins of whole kernel corn, drained.
1 tin cream style corn (optional)
Cook the potatoes, then drain when cooked. Allow to dry off a little.
In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, bacon (if using) and chicken breast (if using – smoked chicken is already cooked so there is no need to “cook” it).
Add the flour and stir to combine.
Cook out the flour for a few minutes (this helps the mixture to not taste floury).
Add some of the milk, stirring all the time, until thickened, then add more milk and repeat until all milk has been added and absorbed.
Add the stock, and stir until this has been absorbed.
Add the cream style corn and the whole kernel corn.
Bring to a simmer, and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time (to prevent the chowder from catching on the bottom of the pot and burning).
Serve with hot buttered toast, and a good grinding of black pepper (if desired).
As I said earlier, Miss 20 doesn’t like chowder (never has even as a small child), so I made her a korma curry using Haloumi cheese.
Haloumi is the cheese that is squeaky and that holds it’s form/shape when you fry it. Haloumi is a cheese that originates from Cyprus and is a semi-hard (firm) unbrined cheese made from a mixture of goats and sheeps milk. I adore it, and so does Miss 20. Haloumi makes a great vegetarian alternative to chicken in curry (try Butter Haloumi Curry, or this Haloumi Korma Curry), and isn’t all that expensive either (I paid $5.99 for Mainland 200gm block).
100gm Haloumi (half a block), cut into rectangular “cubes”
2 T oil
1 finely diced onion
2 t minced garlic
2 T Pataks Mild Curry Paste (this retails for $6.49 normally, but lasts for ages in the fridge)
1/2 tin coconut cream (I use Pams, purely because it is less expensive).
Heat the oil in the pan on a medium heat. Pat the haloumi dry on a paper towel (it is stored in liquid in the package, so this stops the oil from spitting and hissing).
Add to the oil and let cook for a few minutes until that side is browned lightly,
before turning over to cook the other side until lightly browned.
Remove from the pan and let drain on paper towels.
Add the finely diced onion and garlic to the pan, and cook until the onion is transparent.
Add the curry paste, and stir fry until fragrant and well mixed.
Add the haloumi back to the pan, and gently stir to coat the cheese with the curry mixture.
Add the coconut cream and mix well.
Bring to a simmer and let simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat (the colour will deepen as it rests).
Serve with steamed rice.