I was so relieved to see that Jill, from My Next Life did not choose another cake recipe for this week's recipe choice for the Barefoot Bloggers! I'm a Soupaholic, but only when the California temperatures dip low enough. As it turned out, I made this on a Sunday when the weather made it's first appearance as overcast skies and possible rain showers. I own The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, where this recipe can be found.
Soups, to me, are the easiest recipes to make. Honestly, I have not purchased a can of ready-made soup in several years! I believe that the secret to good soup is to brown the vegetables, season it with herbs, add the vegetables and either homemade stock or commercial stock. The only ingredient I had to buy for this recipe was fresh corn. I decided that I really didn't need to measure for this recipe, but I decided to cut back on the quantities of ingredients by about half.
Here's a little trick that I use to cut fresh corn-- I grab one of my small nest bowls, flip it upside down inside a larger bowl and cut the kernels with a sharp knife. The kernels don't fly all over the place and the corn is ready to be blanched in boiling water. (Some people use a bundt pan in a similar way). I used six ears of corn for this recipe.
I dipped a strainer into the pot and blanch these for about three minutes and set the corn aside to drain.
Now, for the bacon. I have started storing my bacon in the freezer. Using a sturdy and sharp knife, I cut the bacon into thin slices/julienne style-- or "lardons" as the French call it.
In a Dutch Oven, I used a little bit of olive oil and browned the bacon until crispy. Now, it's time to use the bacon fat to cook the vegetables.
I gave the soup a taste and I thought it was bland! It was missing something. So, I added a little bit of dried thyme. I tasted it... better, but still boring. I decided to add a little cayenne, but then I spotted my "flavor bomb". I love this stuff!
Old Bay Seasoning! Please tell me you use this wonderful blend of spices! On the can it says:
CELERY SALT (SALT, CELERY SEED), SPICES (INCLUDING MUSTARD, RED PEPPER, BLACK PEPPER, BAY [LAUREL] LEAVES, CLOVES, ALLSPICE [PIMENTO], GINGER, MACE, CARDAMOM, CINNAMON) AND PAPRIKA.. I use Old Bay Seasoning in my egg salad, too.
I realized that I really wanted a bread with this soup-- at the last minute. I quickly made a batch of my skillet corn bread and some honey butter to go with it. Hey, I'm a Yankee, so I like sweet cornbread! I also made a side salad to complete the meal.
Now, for a garnish of bacon...
Ah, a hearty and thick chowder, with...
Hot cornbread and honeybutter...
Heaven! The sweet corn is still a reminder that summer wasn't that long ago... and I'll tell you that this soup tasted even better than the day before. I think that the Old Bay Seasoning took the flavor of this soup up another notch. Do you hear me, Ina?
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