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Vermont fall flavor: Satisfy the palate on a cool evening with a bowl of creamy chowder

By Melissa Greene mgreene@news-journal.com
Sept. 17, 2013 at 11 p.m.


As the official start of fall grows nearer, thoughts of cool weather food begin to tickle the taste buds.

<em><strong>Editor's note:</strong> This is the final installment of a monthly series of articles on food from various regions of the country.</em>

As the official start of fall grows nearer, thoughts of cool weather food begin to tickle the taste buds.

Cooler weather arrives early in Vermont, where temperatures this week won't get much higher than 70 degrees.

But it won't be long until it is sweater-weather in Texas as well, and few things satisfy the palate on a cool evening like a bowl of thick, creamy chowder.

This type of soup originated about a hundred years ago along the coast of the northeastern United States, when fishermen would toss the day's catch into a large pot filled with available vegetables.

The soup was thickened with milk or cream to satisfy hearty appetites.

The recipe spread inland, where corn was more readily available than the traditional fish or clams. Corn chowder is a somewhat easier and less expensive alternative.

Traditional chowder is prepared from a clear stock, mixed with heavy cream and cornstarch until thickened to the consistency of gravy. Using a tomato paste or sauce instead of cream is typically referred to as "Manhattan" style.

Corn chowder is normally made New England style.

The hearty soup features corn, potatoes, yellow onions and ground black pepper. Variations call for the addition of vegetables such as green beans and carrots.

As with most soup recipes, ingredients can be adapted to suit taste buds.

Cooked and crumbled bacon, scallions or roasted red peppers are delicious additions, as is a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese placed on top while the chowder cools.

Crackers, biscuits or cornbread can be served with it, as well.

This recipe calls for fresh or whole, frozen corn, but a can of creamed corn can be substituted.

<h3>Corn Chowder</h3>

4 fresh medium ears of corn or one 10-ounce package of whole frozen corn

<ul> <li>1/2 cup cubed, peeled potato</li> <li>1/2 cup chopped onion</li> <li>1/3 cup water</li> <li>2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules</li> <li>1/4 teaspoon pepper</li> <li>1 3/4 cup milk</li> <li>1 tablespoon margarine or butter</li> <li>2 tablespoons all-purpose flour</li> </ul>

If using fresh corn, use a sharp knife to cut off just the kernel tips from the ears of corn, then scrape the cob with the dull edge of the knife (should yield about 2 cups of corn).

In a large saucepan, combine fresh or frozen corn, potato, onion, water, bouillion granules and pepper. Bring to boiling and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until corn and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1

If desired, garnish with snipped chives or parsley, shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled bacon. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings.

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