Hearty corn chowder. Photo courtesy Spice
We don’t use a slow cooker, mostly because we work steps away from the kitchen. But those who want to come home to a hot dish of comfort food rely on slow cooking.
With a chill in the air, this Slow Cooker Corn Chowder recipe from Spice Islands may be just what you’re looking for. The prep time is 20 minutes, and while you’re away, your slow cooker simmers the ingredients for 8 to 9 hours.
Pick up a a crusty loaf on the way home, or refrigerator rolls from the fridge, or some saltines or oyster crackers.
You can also cook this recipe on the stove top, cook time 25-35 minutes.
For a heartier meal, substitute 6 sausages, sliced, for the bacon. We used chicken sausage flavored with garlic and spinach.
RECIPE: SLOW COOKER CORN CHOWDER
Ingredients For 10 One-Cup Servings
1. COMBINE bacon, potatoes, corn, onions, broth, water, garlic salt, pepper and turmeric in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 to 9 hours, or until potatoes are tender.
2. STIR in milk and cheese. Cover and heat until cheese melts, about 2 to 3 minutes.
3. GARNISH each bowl with chives, if desired. Serve hot.
Stove Top Method
1. PLACE bacon, potatoes, corn, onions, broth, water, garlic salt, pepper and turmeric in stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. REDUCE heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Add 1 additional cup of broth, if needed).
3. ADD milk and cheese, and stir until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
Find more tasty recipes at SpiceIslands.com.
FOOD 101: WHAT IS CHOWDER?
To many Americans, chowder is a soup with fish or seafood as the main ingredient. However, as with the recipe above, there are non-fish chowders such as corn chowder and chicken chowder.
In any chowder, potatoes and other vegetables are typically added. The soup was originally enriched with salt pork fatback (the fat from the back of the pig) and thickened with flour or crushed soup crackers—two ingredients that define a chowder. In the recipe above, bacon stands in for the fatback.
The name “chowder” derives from the French word for the pot in which such a soup was cooked, chaudière, from the Latin caldaria. The word came to New England via Newfoundland, where Breton fishermen tossed some of the day’s catch into a large pot to make soup.
That soup was originally thickened with crushed ship’s biscuits (hardtack); today flour is used.
Here’s a recipe to make your own. Photo courtesy HardtackIsBack.Blogspot.com.
WHAT IS HARDTACK?
Hardtack (or hard tack) is a simple water biscuit (cracker) made from flour, water, and sometimes, salt. Baked to remove most of the moisture for a long shelf life, it was sustenance for travelers. Merchant seamen, sailors and soldiers saw more of it than they’d have liked.
The name derives from the British sailor slang for food, “tack.” Other names include cabin bread, pilot bread (rations for the ship’s pilot), sea biscuits, ship’s biscuits and sea bread. There are numerous pejorative names for the hard, flavorless rations. One is “dog biscuits,” because people fed them to dogs until the more nourishing and pet-specific dog biscuit was developed.
You can still buy hardtack, known in modern times as water biscuits and saltines. Paired with moisture-rich foods—cheeses, dips, soups, spreads—they are quite enjoyable.