Ham and Corn Chowder

 

Ham and corn Chowder

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

We are almost waving corn season goodbye here in NZ; but before is over and we have to survive again with the tinned stuff, I got an armful of them beautiful things last time I was in the veggie shop; so I am now in the process of making the “last” corn specialties of the season, and since I am a soup addict and with the excuse that the days are getting ridiculously shorter and slightly colder I am making one of my favourites, ham and corn chowder.

You can make you own amazing homemade stock if you happen to have a ham bone in your freezer from your last ham, like I did (yes I know odd :0) I am always thinking ahead and I haaate waste so I always come up with clever ways to use everything; yes, it is a little more time-consuming but awfully rewarding) just put ham bone with a couple of the cobs (after you have cut the corn) onion, carrot and bay leaf in a big casserole, cover with water and boil away! (If you have a pressure cooker, you are in luck as the whole operation will take only 25 minutes!!) Next time, think twice before you throw another ham bone away! And maybe as well next time you see a pressure cooker for a bargain, do get it, I promise you your life will never be the same.

This chowder is every bit the perfect dinner, packed with flavour, nutritious, overflowing with veggies and relatively easy to make; chowders don’t have to be loaded with cream and fatty stuff, here is the proof. Enjoy!

HAM AND CORN CHOWDER

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 5 cups homemade ham stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 medium brown onion, cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, cubed
  • 3 cups corn kernels (cut from about 3 fresh corn ears)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 big waxy potato, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2+1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 200g (7 oz) ham, cubed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Light cream and crusty bread to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Place stock in a big casserole pan and bring to the boil. Add onion and carrot
  2. Put half of the corn kernels (1+1/2 cups) in a blender, process until creamed. Add to casserole and cook together with onion and carrot for 8 minutes
  3. Add mushrooms, cauliflower, potato and the rest of the corn kernels. Cook for 10 minutes more
  4. While vegetables are cooking, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook stirring for 1 minute. Start adding warmed milk, a little at the time stirring constantly to prevent from lumps forming, until mixture thickens . Add mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat and cook for 1 minute
  5. Add flour/milk mixture and ham to the casserole, stir to combine; cook everything together for 5 minutes to allow flavours to mingle. Check seasoning
  6. Serve with a swirl of cream if you wish and some crusty bread
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/ham-corn-chowder/

 

Spicy Mexican Noodles with Grilled Prawns

Spicy Mexican Noodles with Grilled Prawns

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

 

I have been thinking about cooking a Mexican dish using “chipotle chili in adobo” for some time now. First because have never tried chipotle and it seems to be the “next big thing”, and secondly because I must confess I have had a tin of the stuff in my pantry for I don’t know how long.

The thing is, I read sooo many recipes from all around the world and I hear of so many new ingredients I straightway assume I will never be able to find, that when actually do find any, I get rather excited and of course I purchase them straight away, but unfortunately by then I have no idea where I saw that recipe that used “Anatto Paste” for example (I promise this exists, I have a block of it somewhere in my pantry that proves it… needles to say I have no idea what to do with it but hey, one of these days I am sure I will figure something out)

Spicy Mexican Noodles with Grilled Prawns

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Well, today the time of the chipotle has come and after happily swimming with some spices, garlic, tomato and prawn stock… ended up transformed into a plate of spicy smoky noodles, topped with huge grilled tiger prawns, sweet and delicate that matched perfectly the robust flavour of the noodles; and just to round this Mexican fiesta off, a drizzle of lime juice and a dollop of refreshing sour cream. Ahhh everything I was hoping for… Viva la Fiesta amigos!!!!

SPICY MEXICAN NOODLES WITH GRILLED PRAWNS

Yield: 4 Servings

SPICY MEXICAN NOODLES WITH GRILLED PRAWNS

Ingredients

  • 800g (24 oz) whole tiger prawns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 300g vermicelli (thin spaghetti) broken into 3cm (1.2 in) pieces
  • 6 shallots (125g - 4 iz) finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo paste (* check recipe notes) I found it in PnS or Farro
  • 3/4 cup passata (Italian unseasoned tomato sauce, I found it in CD, Farro & Nosh)
  • 4 cups prawn stock (or fish stock) warmed
  • garlic salt
  • To serve
  • 4 tablespoons sour light cream
  • 1 lime cut in wedges
  • chopped fresh parsley or coriander to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel and devein prawns (to do devein the prawns, try first pulling out the dark vein from each prawn back, starting at the head. If this fails, carefully cut a shallow slit down the back of each prawn with a sharp knife, and pull the dark vein with a toothpick) Reserve the heads and shells. Keep peeled prawns covered in the fridge
  2. Place prawn heads and shells in a medium saucepan, add just over 4 cups of water, salt and bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes covered. Strain, discard heads,shells and bay leaf. Keep stock warm
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a big non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add noodles, fry stirring often until they start getting a golden color. Reserve
  4. In the same frying pan, put 1 tablespoon of the oil, heat over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.Add spices, cook stirring for 1 minute to release their aroma. Add tomato paste, chipotle paste and sugar, cook for one more minute
  5. Add passata to the pan, cook for 3 minutes. Finally add prawn stock and fried noodles, stir, lower heat and cook noodles until they start to soften and the tomato stock is almost absorbed, about 15 minutes
  6. Heat the last tablespoon of oil in a cast iron griddle over medium/high heat, cook prawns for 1 minute on each side. Season with a little garlic salt
  7. To serve, place noodles in 4 warmed bowls, place prawns on top and serve with the following: sour cream, lime wedges and chopped parsley/coriander

Notes

To make chipotle paste, get the content of the chipotle in adobo tin in the food processor, whiz until becomes a smooth paste. You will only use a small part for this recipe; to store the rest of the paste for future use, line an ice tray with cling film, fill with teaspoons of the chili paste. Fold over cling film edges and freeze. Once is solid, store chili ice cubes in a zip lock bag

http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/spicy-mexican-noodles-grilled-prawns/