Thursday, April 26, 2012

chicken and corn chowder

There is always one food item that haunts my dreams while I am overseas.  Sometimes the food changes over time and often morphs into a super food that will never live up to my expectations the next time I'm in America to taste it.  Last post I dreamed about a Carlyle burger. It just didn't live up to my fantasy when I had an opportunity to enjoy one. The one thing I craved in Manila that did completely hold up to my expectations when I finally had a bite was a Chipotle burrito.  Not a shocker there.

Anyhow, right now my dream food is the chicken and corn chowder at Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington, VA.  This was our Friday night hang out while we were in the States in between Manila and Addis Ababa.  It's a perfectly kid friendly joint with amazing pizzas and subs as well as a superb microbrew selection.  We didn't discover their chicken and corn chowder until a few weeks before we left for Ethiopia.  The soup is perfection and I've been thinking about it ever since.  It makes me get all weak kneed and silly.  It was that good.  If you live in the Northern VA, DC or MD area you should log off your computer and drive to Lost Dog and have a bowl of their chicken and corn chowder for me (maybe order a New York Giant sub and a large Kujo pizza to go for later).
In an attempt to fulfill that craving I made my own version of chicken and corn chowder last night for dinner.  The flavor was there but the thickness was not.  I love the mouth feel of chowder.  How it coats your mouth with all that flavorful heartiness.  My soup had all the flavor of the chicken and corn chowder I love but none of the mouth feel.  In the end I'm not sure I mind.  Getting that thickness and mouth feel has a lot to do with added fat in the form of cream.  Next time I make this I plan on leaving the potatoes larger so they can cook and then I can remove and mash them and add them back in to add thickness to the base without the calories of adding more cream.

We've had a nasty cold the past few days.  This soup really hit the spot for me last night.  The girls and Justin gobbled this up.  There was just enough left for me to have a bowl for lunch today.

Here is what I did (in a nutshell).  Brown 5 strips of bacon in a large pot.  Remove the bacon when done and add a chopped onion, two garlic cloves and chopped yellow pepper (use yellow because your kids won't be able to tell the difference between the pepper chunks and the corn).  Saute with a bit of olive oil until tender.  Add 2-3 cans of low sodium chicken broth (I used some homemade but if you don't have homemade to add use that third can) and about a cup of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add 2-3 chopped potatoes and two cans of chicken with the juices (certainly you can use fresh grilled and chopped chicken-I live in Addis Ababa and don't have fresh chicken all the time).  Add back the bacon and reduce to a simmer.  Add 2 cans of whole kernel corn.  Taste the broth periodically and add salt and pepper as needed.  After simmering for about 30 minutes add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2-3 teaspoons of corn starch to thicken the soup.  Mine didn't get very thick at all so you could adjust this as you like.  Adding more cream and corn starch will change the texture.  A lower fat option is removing the potatoes, mashing them and then mixing it back in the broth.  This helped thicken my broth a bit but I chopped them so tiny it was too much trouble to remove  them all.  At the very end I mixed in about 3/4 cup of very mild cheddar cheese that melted and made the soup even tastier.  You could definitely leave the cheese out though.  Serve nice and hot with warmed bread.  Be prepared for the kids to be slurping and silent!  


Daniela Swider said...

We love Lost Dog too. Their pizza was great and their chicken pesto sandwich was delish...

I'll have to try your chicken corn chowder. It does sound yum!

Emily said...

I am seriously going to get this soup next time we order, and the kujo pie is my favorite. I am hungry just thinking about it.

Sara said...

Yay for Lost Dog fans. Every Friday the girls asked to go! I miss that place!