When asked what my favorite holiday is, a beloved family tradition usually comes to mind. I have such fond memories of Halloween. We would race home from school to find my mother finishing our costumes (she usually sewed them herself), and then she would iron them. On the stove would be a big pot of hot dogs, so we could grab one and hit the streets – for hours, I might add.
Though without the hand-sewn, neatly pressed costumes, Halloween is still just as big a deal with my children as it was when I was growing up. And I always honor my family’s tradition of keeping a big pot of hot dogs for the kids.
One new tradition I added is making Southern Corn Chowder from the Heart & Soul cookbook. I always have a pot on hand for the adults to enjoy. Heart & Soul is a fantastic cookbook (quite difficult to find these days) from the Junior League of Memphis. Maybe it’s the bacon, but there isn’t a better corn chowder recipe than this one. It involves making a roux, but don’t let that scare you, it’s easy. For some odd reason, I like making roux. Perhaps it’s the stirring or watching the roux transform to a golden brown. My neighbor, Bruce, makes his in the microwave, which seems completely insane, except its pretty good. And since Bruce is from Louisiana, I give him credit for his experimentation in roux making.
Happy Halloween! And, enjoy the chowder.
Southern Corn Chowder
- 1 pound of bacon
- 1 large onion chopped
- 8-10 ears of fresh corn or 1 bag of frozen whole kernel corn (about 16 oz.)
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 medium potato cubed
- 1-2 carrots either chopped or shredded
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups light cream
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 3-4 dashes of hot sauce
- Cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside. In a 6 quart Dutch oven or pot, cook onion in 3 T. of the bacon drippings. Drain.
- If using fresh corn, use a sharp knife and slice just the kernel off the tops of the ears, then scrape with a dull knife. Add the corn, chicken broth, potato, and carrot to the onion in the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, about 10 minutes until the potato is tender.
- For roux, pour enough of the bacon drippings into a 10- inch skillet to reach ¼ inch. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until roux is light brown.
- Add milk and cream to vegetables in Dutch oven. Heat through (this is key to the roux’s success). Stir in lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk the roux into vegetable mixture. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Simmer until thickened and heated through.