It’s soup season! Finally, after a summer of sweltering our way through quick stir-fries that don’t heat up the kitchen, I find myself reaching for my sweater and the soup bowls, and Creamy, Dreamy Corn Chowder is a fast, easy, inexpensive dinner that uses good, cheap, poor-man’s-food ingredients.
If you want to eat well and healthily, as well as save money on your grocery bill, homemade soup is as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. And while it takes a bit longer than opening up a can and dumping the product into the pan, making soup yourself from fresh, good ingredients results in more soup for less money — and the leftovers taste better each day.
Can’t cook? Don’t underestimate yourself. Nobody is calling for you to be a five-star chef, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to produce something that tastes as good — and usually better — than a packaged product.
Creamy, Dreamy Corn Chowder — Makes 4-6 servings
1/2 Pound Bacon, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
4-8 Garlic Cloves, minced (I like garlic; it’s good for you, and it adds just the right flavor)
2 Stalks Celery, diced (we grew celery in the garden this year for the first time — it’s thinner and leafier than what we buy in the store, but it’s also more fibrous, dense, and flavorful — probably because it grew in soil and not water)
3 Ears Corn, kernals cut off
1 Tablespoon Beef Bouillon (I use organic Better Than Bouillon which I pick up at Costco)
2 Potatoes, medium sized, chunked
2 Cups Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
Take a break before starting to watch our revised Santa YouTube video: watch Santa grow from a blank canvas to a finished painting by Steve Henderson:
Now that you’re feeling jolly and ready for the upcoming holiday season, let’s get started on lunch or dinner:
In a saute or frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes; add the onion and garlic, cook five minutes more, stirring to keep from burning. Add the celery and a quarter cup water; cook for another 10 minutes until everything is soft.
Dissolve the beef bouillon in 1 cup water; add this mixture and an additional 3 cups water to the celery/bacon mixture. Stir in the corn, cover, and let simmer while you prepare the potato thickener:
Cook the potatoes in water until softened. Drain off water (you don’t have to freak out about this; the whole mixture will be going into the bacon/celery soup mixture to thicken it). Mash the potatoes with the 2 cups milk and 2 tablespoons butter — it doesn’t have to be smooth, and you can use a hand masher, an immersion blender (my choice), a fork, or a mixer.
Stir the potato mixture into the simmering soup, turn the heat down to medium low, and let
heat up and thicken. Add salt to taste. If you are accustomed to prepared, canned, frozen, or boxed food, you may find that the soup is not salty enough, but as you become accustomed to eating more of what you prepare on your own, you may find that the salt in the bacon is enough.
Tuesdays you can find me through my food column, which incorporates good ingredients into good food that saves you money. I invite you to join me at my new column, Commonsense Christianity, at BeliefNet.com, where I post three times a week on . . . commonsense Christianity. God is a god of reason, but sometimes you wouldn’t know it by listening to some of the things said in His name.
And, as always, I encourage you to look at my book, Live Happily on Less, which shows you how you can take the resources you have, and use them to the best of your advantage. This is not an easy economy in which to live, but rather than feel frightened or helpless, we learn to take care of ourselves and our family so that we can eat well, have a roof over our heads, and laugh at least once a week.