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Corn chowder with aged cheddar is a great way to use those leftovers of corn or do something different with it. This creamy and cheesy soup with saline herbs will close up the summer on a high note!chowder soup corn cheddar

Corn chowder with aged cheddar

Corn season is finally here and what better way to celebrate the season then a corn chowder with aged cheddar. The days are getting slowly colder and shorter and we all need to comfort ourselves up with some hot soup. Where I’m from, Quebec, Canada, everyone knows that the “best” corns are from that small town called Neuville situated in between Quebec city and Montreal. Pretty much everyone I know, if they pass by, have to stop by to get at least one mega bag that contains 60 corns for about 20$ CAD.

Once home people would eat corn until food coma follows, whether by boiling it or grilling it in its leaves (technique below) but here is another way to use that corn; a creamy yet healthy corn chowder. Whether the corns are already cooked or raw the technique stays the same, cut off with a sharp knife the grains from the corn and the residual pieces with the back of the knife to make some smooth soup with it. A great way to indulge in corn!

Corn in its leaves (a BBQ recipe)

My family’s favorite way to make fresh corn is to soak them up in water for an hour before cooking them on the BBQ with its leaves on for 10 minutes, turning them every 2 minutes. Better to take off some of those thicker leaves from the top of the corn before. You’ll see, it makes super moist and slightly smoky corns. Delicious stuff!

corn chowder soup with aged cheddar

Salicorne(optional)

Salicorne is a seasonal marine herb growing by saline water which make it a superb aromatic for any soup. I was thinking of home doing this dish, so this herb brings me right back. My grandma was from a region (bas du Fleuve) where those would grow abundantly and she would make her own mix of saline herbs in conserves to make fantastic soups all year long with it. Those conserves are an essential to every Quebecois kitchen and are usually without salicorne, called “Herbes salées“, but if you use the Salicorne than you get all the greatness my grandma called ” Herbes Salées du bas du Fleuve” which is the top notch of those conserves in my humble opinion. With this mix you wouldn’t need any salt to season your soups, plus they give an extra fresh sea flavour to any dish. Salicorne can be difficult to find but they sell it in some speciality shop in dry form. Many types of saline herbs exist around the globe so pick up the one more familiar to you whether it’s called glasswort, pickle-weed, samphire, etc. Anyhow, if you don’t have those herbs at home just use a nice sea salt or standard “Herbes salées“.

Few explanations of the technique

Corn chowder with aged cheddar

Sometimes people make roux for thickening their soups, but here no need of extra flour or cornstarch, just have to blend up half the cooked potato and corn in the end and you’ll get a super smooth base. Plus, a nice bite from those reserved corn grains. Also the turmeric added is not for taste, it’s mainly to color the chowder, plus it’s a super healthy spice. As for the yellow bell pepper, I added mine in the end for a nice fresh crunch but if you prefer you can add it in the beginning of cooking. Like any other chowder… it’s better to wait a few hours before serving, to make all those flavors merge perfectly. Just be careful, once the cream and cheese is in, you should not overheat the soup, just warm it up gently until fuming but not boiling. Otherwise it will curdle.

So let’s make this golden chowder!


Corn Chowder with Aged Cheddar

Makes 6 portions | Difficulty: easy | Preparation: 40 minutes

Ingredients
  • Corn chowder with aged cheddar1 litre of vegetable broth
  • 200ml of cream
  • 4 corns (precooked or raw)
  • 1 big potato diced
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • *1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • aged cheddar to taste
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • *salicorne (or salt) and pepper

*optional

Directions
  1. Start by softening up the onions in some olive oil or butter for 5 minutes
  2. Cut the corn grains with a knife and diced all the vegetables
  3. Add the diced potato, garlic, corn grains, *salicorne marine herbs and laurel leaves to the soften onions
  4. Add the broth and bring to a simmer
  5. Cook slowly, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes
  6. Once cooked, take out the laurel leaves and half the corn and potato, reserve
  7. Blend carefully the soup until smooth
  8. Add the cream, the reserved corn and potato and the optional *yellow bell pepper
  9. Bring to a simmer and stop the heat
  10. Add the aged cheddar, salt and pepper
  11. Mix and serve

Serve with a chives and extra cheese, enjoy!

Corn chowder with aged cheddar

pate chinois

Pâté chinois is a typical French Canadian meal… Apparently created by the British railroad workers, in the 19th century, as an imitation of the famous “cottage pie” (beef, lamb and mashed potatoes). The dish was an imminent “hit”, at least, for the “on site” railroad workers which included many French Canadians and many Chinese workers. The French brought it back home and called it: Chinese pate… which as nothing to do with China…sheperdspiepin

pate chinoisThe “pate chinois” differs from the cottage pie, mainly because of the corn in the middle layer. Which was a cheap and easy ingredient to add, since Canada is full of it. In majority, this is the meal every household does once a month in the East part of Canada. It’s equivalent to tomato pasta for an Italian, or a baguette and cheese to a French, a ceviche to a peruvian… It’s “the” meal every French Canadians family does every other week.

Since living in Spain, I’ve had to add a spanish touch to everything I cook, so instead of doing the typical butter in the mashed potatoes, I’ve used olive oil. Also I’ve added garlic, onions, tomato paste and carrots to the meat and last but not least; fresh thyme. Surprisingly, this meal does already have a layer of paprika (pimenton) on top of it, I used for this one a special smoked paprika called “Pimenton de la Vera”, which is kind of the caviar of spices in Spain. A slight smoky flavour to this pie goes a long way.

So let’s make some eastern canadian meal with a touch of sunny Spain!


Pâté Chinois with a Spanish Twist

Makes 4 portions

Ingredientspate chinois
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 200ml warm milk
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g grinded beef meat
  • 1 onion in cubes
  • 1 carrot in cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 50g (tomate frito) tomato paste
  • 300g corn grains
  • 1 tbsp smocked paprika
  • fresh thyme
  • salt, pepper
Directions
  1. Cook the potatoes through, peel them (here is a trick)
  2. Mash them with the warm milk, olive oil, salt and pepper
  3. Add the onion and carrot with some olive oil to a pan, cook at medium high heat, until soft
  4. Add the garlic and thyme bring to high heat
  5. Add the meat and cook until light brown
  6. Add the paprika and tomato paste
  7. Add the meat mix to the bottom of a oven proof container (deep enough and not too big… about 20cm diametre)
  8. Add the corn layer
  9. Add the mashed potatoe layer
  10. Sprinkle with more paprika, salt, pepper and spray a little olive oil on top
  11. Cook for 30-35 minutes at 200°C (375F), until brown top, finish it with a broil
  12. Let cool a bit and serve

Enjoy on a cold day, with some nicely spiced Bloody Mary!

 

Pate chinois