Oh friends, fall is here.
In my head, fall is always bright and sunny and beautiful, filled with sights and smells of apples, cinnamon, spice, pumpkins, falling leaves, and cornstalks. In my mind, fall is a wonderland.
But yesterday, reality hit hard. Cold, driving rain that lasted 2 days. Depressing darkness. Mud, muck and wet leaves. And us with no heat in the house (don't ask- it will be fixed soon!).
What to do? Make soup, of course. There is nothing better to warm the body and soul, am I right? I know I'm not the only soup fan out there! When I shared this photo on social media yesterday, I had multiple requests for the recipe... so here you go.
I found this recipe years ago in a magazine and I've adapted it to suit our tastes over the years. It's a favorite around our house because we can make it with almost entirely locally sourced ingredients. The potatoes, onions, corn and herbs come right from our own garden. The milk, cream and bacon come from our neighboring farm down the road.
This soup tastes like fall in Michigan. There is something so grounding and comforting about locally grown food.
I hope you enjoy the recipe... and feel free to change it up to meet the needs of your family! That is the lovely thing about soup - recipes are forgiving, flexible and easily customized.
Potato, Corn and Cheese Chowder
Serves about 4 people
Active Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
3 large potatoes, diced into 1/2" pieces
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tbsp butter, olive oil, beef tallow, lard or bacon fat (the best!!!)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk or cream or half & half... or a blend of these
1 1/2 cups frozen, fresh or canned corn
2-4 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
pre-cooked bacon crumbles (optional, but seriously, why wouldn't you?)
4 oz of grated cheese
A FEW NOTES:
I usually double this recipe so we can have leftovers. I haven't tried freezing it, but that has never been an issue because it gets gobbled up so quickly.
If you are adding bacon, you can cook the bacon first, then use the bacon fat to saute the onion and make the roux. I usually have small containers of pre-cooked, chopped bacon crumbles in my freezer, so I use that. Cooking bacon adds another step and more time.
You can use any type of potato (Russet, Yukon Gold, red skin...). I always keep the skins on because I am much too lazy to peel potatoes.
1. Bring water, potatoes, bay leaf and salt to a boil in a large soup pot. Cook potatoes until they are softened and easily pierced with a fork.
2. While waiting for potatoes to cook, saute the onion in a separate pot (2 qt pot works well) in the butter/oil/fat until soft and translucent. *See note above about cooking bacon.
3. Add flour to the sauteed onions and mix well to coat the onions with flour. Very slowly, pour milk/cream into the pot, stirring constantly with a fork or whisk to make a roux (a thickener made by mixing flour and fat).
4. Once the roux has thickened, pour it into the soup pot with the cooked potatoes.
5. Stir in the corn, herbs and spices (be sure to taste test when adding salt and pepper). Simmer gently for at least 15 minutes, but preferably longer to allow flavors to meld. Do not allow soup to boil.
6. Add cheese just before serving or allow people to sprinkle the cheese on their own bowl.
*Do you have any favorite fall soup recipes to share? I'd love to hear them!*