It’s been chilly and I’ve been sick, so when I finally had enough energy to leave the house yesterday, soup ingredients were in order. It’s just a short walk from my apartment to Chelsea Market–couldn’t have planned that better!–so I bundled up and set out with my purse full of tissues. There’s a great but small market called Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market that carries some of the best produce I’ve seen–and every kind imaginable, from 10 kinds of kale to real, legit baby corn in a husk (who knew that was an actual vegetable?)–and at great prices since they wholesale it to the Food Network (located in the same building) and tons of other restaurants in Manhattan. They also carry a great cheese selection, tons of nuts and dried fruit and good pantry staples, but don’t come here looking for much in the freezer or refrigerated case–it’s very limited. Definitely worth a trip if you’re looking for great produce.
And since I was there, I just HAD to stop for a meat pie at Tuck Shop. This was by far my favorite bite on a recent Chelsea Market foodie tour I took with my girls Shahnaz and Anna. It’s delicious crust around perfectly seasoned beef — what could be better? Add some sriracha and you’ll be in heaven. We went to 10 different spots on the tour, so that’s saying something!
Back to the cheddar corn chowder — I chose frozen corn this time around since the fresh didn’t look great, but I can imagine that this soup with fresh, sweet corn would be even more amazing. It’s definitely getting a revisit from me to try that out. But it was a delicious success anyway — you get lots of great bacon flavor by sautéing the onions in bacon fat, and great corn flavor with some heft from the potatoes. A great meal on its own, or add some cornbread or a baguette and green salad (or meat pie) and you’re golden.
This is an Ina Garten recipe–love her stuff.
- Cut the recipe in half. Seriously, unless you’re cooking for 12 or want to freeze some. It makes a LOT.
- Use homemade stock if you have it. If you don’t, learn to make it!
- I used thin-skinned Yukon potatoes — as long as the skin isn’t thick like a russet potato, you’re good. You could even use red-skinned potatoes to give it a little more color.
Cheddar Corn Chowder
- 8 ounces bacon, chopped
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 12 cups chicken stock
- 6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
- 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.