Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Essence of Summer

With hot summer days coming to a close I found it to be the perfect opportunity to make a dinner with the remains of what summer brings. There is nothing more that speaks the essence of any season than soup. It brings warmth and a reminder of homegrown summer vegetables. It gives comfort and endurance during the long winter months. You can see the color of autumn in every bite while the leaves are falling off the tree, or you can smell the freshness of spring as the steam billows from the bowl.
Soup reminds me of childhood; when family was together and still strong with the smell that would brush my face as I entered the door after soccer practice.
In celebration of the summer's end and autumn's begin I made the soup that speaks summer, and that soup is corn chowder.
Corn chowder is filled with summer flavors of sweet corn and fresh vegetables like green pepper and potatoes. Here's my version of corn chowder inspired by the day.

Corn Chowder with a Kick*

4 pieces crispy, chopped bacon
1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
1 large green pepper finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
1 cup milk
1 15 ounce can corn (frozen or fresh can be substituted)
1 1/2 teaspoon
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter

Cook bacon until crispy and set aside. Saute onion and green pepper in the bacon grease until translucent. Add garlic for 1 minute and then add flour until cooked through. To a simmering pot of chicken stock add potatoes and vegetable mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk, cayenne, the bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes and stir in butter before serving. Serve in a bowl and top with chopped bacon. After this chowder you won't want summer to end.

*Inspiration for Corn Chowder with a Kick came from Gina and Pat Neely

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