I love chowders. Clam, Manhattan clam, corn, lobster, crab... you get the point. And in my humble food opinion, you simply cannot make a delicious chowder without heavy cream. It's just not the same. This may not be a recipe you'd want to eat everyday if you're trying to maintain a girlish figure, but everyone's gotta indulge now and then. I simply love food too much not to.
I love to take a recipe and really make it my own. I did this with the chowder by adding some extra veggies I had on hand in addition to one of my fave spices, Ancho Chili Powder. There are a few vegetables you'll almost always find in my fridge: celery, carrots, bell peppers (of all colors) and onions. For this chowder, which I actually made for lunch for my boss, I added the carrots, celery and bell pepper to make the chowder meatier and to feel slightly less guilty for all the dairy that was about to go down. Last fall, I made this chowder post-Thanksgiving and added shredded turkey to rid myself of some leftovers. Feel free to add whatever you have on hand. Shredded chicken, crab, lobster (again, the list goes on) would be delicious, and would create more of a one pot meal from the chowder.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups canned vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced (I used 4 Yukon Gold, my grocery store didn't have Idaho)
6 ears corn (you can substitute frozen corn, about 6 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 -10 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture). Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to the soup. Add Ancho Chili Powder, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and cheddar. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a few more sprinkles of the cheddar and serve.