When mommy-to-be has a craving, create a Frankenstein food
Few things in life are as satisfying as a hearty bowl of chowder made just right. The permeating warmth of the buttery and creamy base, accompanied by its festival of ingredient flavours, is something so altogether heavenly that words don’t come close to doing it justice… you simply have to taste it for yourself to understand.
As a young cook, I shirked from cooking the more traditional Newfoundland soups, such as moose or vinegary turkey, thinking them far too mundane for my tastes. Instead, I was lucky enough to start out sharpening my soup-making skills with purees and cream-based soup – gaining a pretty decent flair for it early on in my career.
Recently, my pregnant girlfriend had another one of her spontaneous mega-cravings and while she knew that she (or rather, our ever-developing baby boy, Roman) was craving chowder, she couldn’t decide which one it was; corn, potato, chicken, seafood, clam, bacon or vegetarian.
“Well, you have to decide.” I admonished. “I love you to bits but I’m not going to make all of them for you at once.”
Needless to say, she threw a hyperbolic tantrum as she whined and pined. Supper hour was drawing nearer and nearer as she agonized over making the decision. Just when I was about to decide for her with a potato bacon chowder (she loves bacon to absolute death) she was the one who had a striking epiphany of creative genius.
“Why not combine them all into one great big super-chowder, only maybe take away the fish and clams so that the only protein is chicken and bacon? Maybe have some garlic bread on the side ...”
I was awestruck — firstly, because Ashley hates any kind of “Frankenstein food” (as she affectionately calls my creative cooking) and, secondly, because the concept itself was breathtaking as an idea. To combine all the unique and varied flavours of onion, bacon, chicken, potato, corn and carrots in a single mouthwatering pot of chowder was to forge something that she was absolutely correct to call super-chowder ... and I was dying to give it a go.
Roman’s Super Chowder
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup real butter
- 3 cups canned corn, saved juices
- 5 rashers of bacon, cooked and diced
- 2 medium chicken breasts, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 medium sized potatoes, diced
- 3 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
- Heat a small pan at medium-high heat and add diced bacon. Cooked to desired doneness and set aside, saving the grease. In the same pan with rendered bacon grease, sauté the chicken bits for approximately 10 minutes on medium-high heat and set aside as well. Combine all wet ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat before reducing to a gentle simmer on medium-low heat being sure to stir frequently to avoid scorching.
- Add all remaining ingredients and continue to cook for 45-50 minutes, being sure to stir occasionally to prevent the milk and cream from curdling.
Note: Avoid overcooking the chowder and storing on high heat in a warming device as this will cause the milk ingredients to curdle as well.
The chowder was an extreme success. Ashley (and Roman) demolished nearly the whole pot until I managed I have a bowl for myself and I too loved every succulent mouthful.
Until next time, Food Dudians.
Dear Food Dude,
You haven’t written a sweet dessert column now in quite some time. Have you given up on baking? Lost your sweet tooth, perhaps? Also, in your last column, it’s ASMR, not SMR.
Rodney P – St. John’s, NL
You’re absolutely right and I felt something was off with those letters. Bigger fouls have been made though, for sure. As for the desserts ... my bad, dude. I’ve been trying to lose winter weight and I guess my mind was a little too distant from the sweet treats. My next one will be a dessert. I promise.
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Terry Bursey, otherwise known as the Food Dude, is a Newfoundland chef transplanted to Ontario who enjoys putting his mark on traditional recipes and inventing new tasty treats with unexpected ingredients.
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