Dina’s Favorite Corn Chowder…

…well, sort of.

Hold on folks – its Fight Back Friday – and…

Truth be told, the Corn Chowder served at Manzana in the Pearl District at 12th & Glisan every Tuesday – that’s my favorite Corn Chowder. But some stupid corporation bought them out and put some other dumb restaurant there – without the to die for corn chowder, I might add. And so I was forced to figure out how to make one that – at least tries – to be like the one from Manzana. One of these days I’m going to break down and write Gourmet or Bon Appetite and send them after the scoundrels who bought Manzana out and force them to share the recipe!

This is also going to be a lesson in how to make a soup based on what you’ve got written down in the recipe, but actually isn’t exactly what it is. Why? Cause I just felt like some alterations in the method, ingredients, etc. So here we go! This is Dina’s Favorite Corn Chowder – sort of. (Who knows, maybe it’ll be my new favorite!)

Dina’s Favorite Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons Butter
4 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
3 stalks Celery, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
4 cups Water or chicken stock
2 cups Corn
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon White pepper
1 cup Whole milk
1 cup Chicken stock
2 cups Heavy whipping cream
1 cup Medium white cheddar cheese, shredded


Here are most of the ingredients – some things are stored in bins too large for me to schlep up onto the counter top – sorry. But, suffice it to say they are nearby and ready for active duty!

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart stock pot. Add onions, celery, and potatoes – cooking over medium-high heat until the onions are beginning to become translucent.

I probably ought to mention something here. This recipe calls for 1 medium onion. I love onions. My kids – not so much. Pretty much everything savory that I cook has onions in it. And if the recipe calls for one medium onion, I’m going to either a) add a large onion to the medium onion, or 2) just get a large one instead. I know – I’m bad. For this batch – I added the large onion to the small one that really needed to be used up. This recipe also pretty specifically said 3 stalks of celery and 4 medium potatoes. Know what? I feel like more celery and more potatoes today – so I’m upping the ante a little. The great thing about soup? You can make it your own really easily! J

  1. Cover the potato mixture with water (and/or chicken stock) and boil until almost tender.

It just so happens that I didn’t want water in my soup today so I used up some Chicken stock that needed to be used up. Okay – you caught me. Not actually covered with the stock are they? I didn’t actually have quite enough, but that’s okay – I had plenty, and what I had worked.

  1. Add the corn. Reduce heat to medium low.

See, I told you! There was plenty of liquid there! After the potatoes cooked well, I added the corn in.

  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat ½ cup butter until melted. Stir in flour with a whisk until roux forms, stirring over medium high heat for about five minutes.

Do you know how to make a roux? It’s one of those things that every girl needs to know how to do before she leaves home for college or parts afar. I didn’t learn how to make one until well into my 20’s – oh! All of the fabulous sauces I could have made! BTW, you have a wire whisk, right? Cause every kitchen ought to have at least 2, you know that, right?

  1. Gradually add in 1 cup of chicken stock, stirring with the whisk as you add the liquid to ensure a smooth consistency.

Here’s what it looks like after the stock has been added. Honestly – it’s a little dark, but I got an important phone call at this point in time and had to step away. That’s okay – I always prefer a more cooked roux to a floury/powdery tasting one.

  1. Now add the milk and whipped cream to the roux; again – stirring with the whisk as you slowly add the liquid to maintain the smooth consistency, allowing the mixture to come to stay at a steady medium temperature.
  2. Sauce mixture may need a few minutes to simmer – stirring all the while – to thicken some more. Add the salt and pepper (you may substitute black pepper for the white pepper if you prefer).

Here’s the lovely roux with the cream added. I’ve just sprinkled the Kosher salt, ground some black pepper in, and added some celery salt. Yes, I know! The recipe doesn’t say that exactly, does it? I’m not loving white pepper so much of late, but I am loving the fresh ground black pepper, so I chose to use that. And I should come clean – celery salt is probably my favorite spice. I use it in almost everything!

  1. Gradually add in the shredded cheddar cheese until the sauce is completely integrated.

I’m just not in the mood for the cheddar added to this today. I got it out. I grated it. I was all set to add it. But then I stopped, and tasted the roux and you know what? It was perfect. Why mess with it?

  1. Add the sauce mixture to the potato mixture. Stir and let come back to a gentle boil, and then reduce heat to very low. Allow to sit for five minutes before serving.

So that’s pretty much it. It’s an easy little soup to throw together – has elbow room to be messed with to your personal preferences – and even if I do say so myself – it’s delicious.



Options: You can kick this up a notch by throwing in some fire roasted peppers, and a bit of cilantro.

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