June Chowder?

Spicy Corn Chowder
Here's the truth about June in California: it can be unpredictable, depending on where you live, but if you live anywhere near the coast, you often get a lot of, maybe even too much of what we commonly call, 'June Gloom.' When we lived a bit south of where we now live, we had a lot of June Gloom and sometimes, way too much of May Gray. But nowadays, we live smack in the middle of land that has what I commonly refer to as Hot as Hell weather. So, when June offers up a bit of gloom, when it's overcast and a bit chilly, I pilfer my freezer for whatever offers me even the vaguest possibility of making soup.

This weekend, I was in luck, because it wasn't that long ago that I stirred up a big batch of my spicy Corn Off the Cobb and I'd had the foresight to tuck a container away in the freezer. Chowders are quick to prepare, but even more importantly, they're versatile, so adding a few cubed potatoes, sliced smoked sausage, shrimp even cooked shredded chicken just adds to the flavor. I use a mix of stock and milk, but when it comes to the later, I'm not set in my ways. I do like the slight sweetness of evaporated milk, but heavy cream is a decadent component well worth its weight.

Serve this with crusty bread and green salad; fresh fruit makes a nice dessert.

Spicy Corn Chowder

2 cups of leftover Corn Off the Cobb
1 medium Russet potato, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 cup *heavy cream, evaporated milk, whole milk or half and half
1 cup chicken stock or vegetable broth
cooked sliced smoked sausage, crabmeat, shrimp, crawfish, or shredded chicken

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
2. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the 'roux' turns golden.
3. Very slowly—and carefully—add the stock or the broth, whisking the flour mixture into the liquid to fully incorporate it and to remove any lumps.
4. Add the potato and cook until the potato is tender.
5. Add the leftover corn mixture and stir.
6. Reduce the heat to medium low.
7. Add the heavy cream, or other dairy, and stir.
7. Cook until the soup thickens, then add your choice of meat and heat through.
8. Serve immediately.

* Depending on which you choose, you may need to thin the soup. Heavy cream naturally thickens as it cooks, so you will probably need to thin this out with a little milk. Consequently, if you use low fat or skim milk, you may need to add more flour to the roux to thicken the soup.


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