It’s that time of year when our culinary spirit is energized in anticipation of the fall harvest. Our recipes are ready, and our tastings and experiments are completed. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of heavenly soups, flavorful appetizers, main courses that have unique autumn-inspired presentations, and desserts that will satisfy our sweet tooth. It’s going to be a truly magnificent culinary season!
To help usher you into this wonderful time of the year, here’s my favorite fall chowder:
- 6 fresh white corn on the cob, husked
- 12 fresh yellow corn on the cob, husked
- 1 lb. smoked bacon
- 1/4 lb. unsalted butter
- 2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
- 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
- 2 medium yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1 large onion
- 3 medium potatoes (Idaho or russet), peeled and medium diced
- 8 oz. heavy cream
- 4 oz. sour cream
- 1 cup and 2 tbsp. wondra flour
- 3 oz. thyme, dry
Procedure: Finely mince bacon and onion and sweat in stock pot with butter on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes (do not brown). In the meantime, grill fresh yellow corn and cut off cob. Add corn and milk to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add flour to sweated bacon and onion to make a roux and stir while cooking until slightly browned. Add corn and milk mixture to roux and whisk until smooth. Bring back to a boil and simmer over low heat (be careful not to scorch the bottom of the pot).
Grill white corn and peppers. Remove corn from cob. Add corn, peppers and potatoes to soup. Make a sachet bag with dry thyme and close tightly with tied string so thyme will not mix into chowder. Add bag to chowder (tip: tie string end to the pot handle so you will not lose the sachet bag in the soup). Cook for approximately one hour or until potatoes are fully cooked. Season with salt to taste.
Presentation: This is a wonderful first course to serve when you’re entertaining fall guests. Be creative with your presentation. You may even want to try serving the soup out of an oven roasted acorn squash.
Chef Howard Karp is an instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.
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