Sweet Corn Chowder

It’s been a long week. My power went out again after the banks had already closed, my bike was stolen, and it is really difficult to get a cab these days. I made another batch of bacon jam over the weekend, because I was going to go to a picnic in Chaoyang Park and bring the bacon spread, cheese, and baguettes to share. Instead I got really lazy and stayed in bed and read books, ate the bacon jam and bread and cheese myself, and instead of cooking, for three days straight ate terrible dinners like an entire baguette with various toppings.

I’ve been meaning to get my life together, go grocery shopping after work, make healthy dinners with leftovers for lunch at work instead of buying crappy fried things, maybe actually start reviewing my Mandarin textbooks. But the heat is just killing me. I get home and flop down and wait for my AC to kick in. And, I agreed to take in a friend’s cat for two weeks. Maze is a pudgy, needy little ginger who likes plastic bags, clawed up a leather portfolio, and meows every time I’m not petting her. She likes to sit on my nightstand and bat my necklaces, but other than that, at least she doesn’t chew through any wires.

Anyway, I at least partially motivated myself to stop at the both Jenny Lou AND Wumart yesterday. Mostly because I needed to buy a second fan or die from overheating, and my ayi requested a larger ironing board (sidenote; have you ever tried to walk three blocks carrying a full sized ironing board in one arm and a large fan in the other? Hint: it’s not fun, don’t do it. People give you weird looks when you almost hit them because the sidewalk is really narrow). I’m less affronted these days when Chinese people assume I’m a useless girl, maybe because I’m used to it, but it barely even ruffled my feathers that the salesman asked if I need help assembling the fan (hmm, I don’t know, I guess I stick one pole into the pole with the larger hole..and use…a screwdriver to hold it together? And then I plug it in?). Anyway, since I was already there, I bought things that actually required cooking, mostly because I had finished all the bread in my house and eating bread for dinner three nights in a row is sad (no matter what you put on top of it).

I decided to make a summer corn chowder recipe that I now can’t remember where I found it. Probably Tastespotting. I didn’t feel like breaking out a big stock pot so I cut the recipe down and cooked everything in a frying pan. It turned out surprisingly delicious.

Bacon (three thick slices, diced)
1 medium yukon gold potato, diced
1 can of sweet corn (probably 1 1/2 cups?)
2 Tbs cream (roughly?)
1 Tbs butter
1 can of chicken stock (I haven’t had the energy to make chicken stock in months, so I’ve been cheating and using store bought)
3 bird chilies, seeded and sliced (or jalapeno, or whatever)
Salt and pepper

Fry the bacon until crispy, and remove from pan. Drain some of the oil. Put in 1 Tbs of butter. After it melts, throw in the diced potato. Season with salt and pepper and toss in the chili peppers. Then the corn (a little bit of liquid now works to deglaze the pan from the bacon). Pour in the stock, bring it to a boil, then let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Take about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the soup and puree it, then add it back to the pan with the cream. Let simmer again. Add more salt/pepper to taste. I removed the chilies before pureeing because I don’t like biting into unexpected spiciness, but the simmering lent a nice heat to it. Serve topped with the bacon cubes.

Sweet corn chowder topped with bacon

It was delicious. Light, but satisfying. It would work as a small side or a larger bowl for a full dinner with some crusty bread. Next time I might try to add in some shallot or sweet onion, and garlic.

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