GREAT LAKES 'CHOWDA'
Heartland: The Cookbook
by Judith M. Fertig
While East Coast chowders feature clams. Midwest chowders go for what is plentiful in this region: bacon, corn, and freshwater fish. Kurt Steeber at Boulevard Blue offers a deconstructed "Cleveland Chowda" with a creamy, bacony sauce topped with turned potatoes and a pan-roasted freshwater fish fillet on top This recipe, however, is your classic style of chowder, meant to fortify you when cold winds howl across the lake—or your street. More like a warm muffler than a silk scarf, this soup is a meal in itself.
Serves 6 to 8
• 6 slices apple-smoked or other good-quality bacon, diced
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
• 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
• 3 large red potatoes, peeled and diced
• 2 cups chicken stock or broth
• 8 ounces fresh or smoked whitefish or walleye fillet, chopped
• 3 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
• 1 cup half-and-half
• Fine kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain, but reserve the bacon drippings in the pan. Saute the onion, scallions, and bell peppers in the bacon drippings until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
2. Stir in the fish and 1½ cups of the corn and cook until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the remaining 1½ cups of corn and 1/2 cup of the half-and-half in the work bowl of a food processor and puree. Add this puree to the soup, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half, and simmer until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.