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White corn chowder with a smoky swirl

A chowder is a seafarer's dish that was brought to the US via sailors. This dish is always a thickened soup with onions, celery and cream or milk as its base. The term chowder is derived from the French "chaudière" from the large cauldron that the soup is cooked in. It is believed that the New England style of chowder was introduced to the region by French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers and became a common dish in the area by the 1700s. The soup continued to gain popularity throughout the years and, according to What's Cooking America, was being served in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House (the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country) by 1836. There are also tomato-based red chowder and clear clam juice-based variations that are served. However, the most popular recipe is clam chowder is served with salty oyster crackers in little packs and is always a classic in many seafood restaurants. I

Most folks think of paprika as Hungarian, but Spain's second-largest crop is paprika. It is grown in the region of Murcia’s Guadalentin Valley. The paprika comes in several varieties, smoked, sweet, sweet-hot, and Picante. My favourite manufacturer of Spanish paprika is Chiquilín, I love it for its deep flavours.

This soup is a hearty treat with lovely smoky flavours. the sweetness of the corn is balanced beautifully by the drizzle of the smoked paprika oil and the bite of the paprika-cooked corn. This is a hearty and rich soup, one that should be served in small servings so you do not fill your guests up early.

This is a wonderful cookbook that specializes in soups for all seasons. Deborah Madison is one of the first chefs to start the farm-to-table movement in the Bay Area and her recipes reflect her expertise with vegetables and fresh produce. I have a number of her wonderful cookbooks, each one a masterpiece. This is the book that made me fall in love with soups and taught me how to make a great one.

For more wonderful soup recipes from this cookbook, click here.


6 ears corn

2 tablespoons butter

1 celery rib, thinly sliced

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 large potatoes, peeled, keep the peels

1 large yellow pepper, cored and seeded, chopped. Keep core, ribs and seeds

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Parsley, minced

Chives, finely snipped

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

For the stock:

Corn cobs without the corn

1 celery stick, diced

Ribs, core and stems from the yellow pepper

Potato peels

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3-4 sprigs of parsley

10 cups water

Salt, to taste

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Start by making the stock. Cut the corn off the cobs, pressing hard on the cobs to extract out any of the milk. Set the corn aside.

Add all the ingredients for the stock to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids.

While the stock is cooking, add the butter to a pot, the celery, onions, potatoes, yellow peppers, garlic, and salt, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the vegetables are very soft. Do not let the vegetables get any colour.

When the vegetables are soft, add the paprika and flour and cook for 2-3 minutes coating the vegetables with the roux.

Add the hot stock into the pot with the corn (keep a few tablespoons of the corn separate and do not add) and bring it to a boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Cool the soup down and add the milk and cream. Purèe with a hand blender or in a blender till very smooth. It will take some time for the corn to break down completely. Sieve the soup through a fine mesh sieve pressing down on the solids to extract as much of the soup as possible. taste and adjust salt.

Hate a small frying pan with some butter. Add the reserved corn kernels and fry on high till they are lightly coloured. Remove from the heat and toss with a few pinches of Spanish paprika.

Heat a small pot with the remaining butter and allow it to brown slightly. Add the paprika and take off the stove immediately.

Serve the soup hot topped with fried corn, fresh herbs, parsley and chives and a swirl of paprika butter.

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