Steph's (heavily modified) corn chowder

This is a recipe that is barely even a recipe—more of a guideline. Chances are, I’m the only person I know who likes this dish as much as I do, but that’s ok. More for me.

Steph’s (heavily modified) corn chowder

4 baking potatoes (I like high-starch ones; they thicken the chowder nicely)
2 cans cream corn
2 cans whole kernel corn
1 can milk
1 white or yellow onion
half-package of bacon (adjust to your bacony wishes)
1 bunch green onions
several cloves of garlic, minced
seasoning ideas: Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, tabasco/cayenne to taste

Prep work:
Peel the potatoes and cut into a large dice. Chop the white and light green parts of the green onions. Dice the onion. Reserve the green parts of the green onion for later, if desired. Mince the garlic or run it through a garlic press. Only after you have cut up all the other ingredients should you dice the bacon (food safety, y’know).

Cooking directions:
Bring a couple of inches of water to boil in a pot large enough to hold all the finished ingredients. Salt the water, then add the potatoes. Boil until tender.

As the potatoes cook, heat oil in a frying pan, and sauté the chopped onions (the white/yellow onion and the white/light green parts of the green onion). I like to cook them slowly and let them caramelize, when I have the time. After the onions are almost completely cooked to your taste, add in the diced bacon. Sauté until done but not crisp, then add the garlic. Cook off the raw flavor of the garlic, then drain off excess fat from the pan.

When the potatoes are done, drain the water. Put potatoes back in pot. Add the corn and milk; stir. Once the excess fat is gone from the onion/bacon/garlic mixture, add it to the potato/corn/milk mixture. Stir, and begin to correct seasonings. The bacon should help provide saltiness, but you may need more. Worcestershire is good for strengthening the overall taste, pepper (both black and hot) will keep it from being bland.

Allow the mixture to heat and the flavors to combine. I will often simmer the chowder for an hour, checking seasonings occasionally as the bacon/onion flavors seep into the liquid. If you like, mince the dark green parts of the green onions and sprinkle on top for service.

Chances are, you’ll want more seasonings than this. For me, corn chowder is comfort food—food to be made under a cold and yucky sky and eaten with a blanket, a good movie, and an occasionally-pestering cat. Make it spicier, or give it more herbal notes, if you want to dress it up. Dressy isn’t bad; it just isn’t how I normally serve this dish (with salt and pepper on the side for others to season to their taste).

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