I’m calling time on this miserable, chilly month with some sunshine in a bowl. January has seen me trying out various ways of transporting my soup to work without it leaking all over the inside of my handbag; my thermos has given up the ghost after one to many bumps. I’m quite pleased with my bargain (£3.49!) bento-type box, it doesn’t keep food hot very long but can go straight in the microwave, no decanting required. Unfortunately it’s quite bulky and won’t fit in my bag like the thermos did and, since it’s white, everyone thinks I’m toting around a loo roll. I’m tempted by one of the uber-cute Fuel flasks, complete with dry section for crackers or crûtons, but the price is rather high and they look a tad small. Does anyone out there in the blogosphere have any recommendations?
This month my thermos/bento box/tupperware has mostly been containing sweetcorn chowder (my artificial sunshine) which doesn’t seem to mind what it gets lugged around in and usually gets better given time for the flavours to meld. It’s bright, sunny yellow, creamy and rich from the mashed potato that thickens it and a generous splosh of milk. A hit of chilli livens things up so you feel toasty warm all the way to your toes. I often like to add a teaspoon of turmeric to bring out the pretty yellow colour but it also has the added bonus of being good for the immune system (yay!). If you’re serving this soup at home you can go the whole hog and hollow out a crusty bread roll to act as both a bowl and accompaniment which, while not something I do on a regular basis, was very satisfying on a chilly visit Boston (a city that knows it’s chowda) several years ago.
- 2 medium potatoes (about 500g total)
- 400ml milk
- 4 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and sliced finely
- 1 large pepper, cut into 1cm dice
- 400g tinned sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
- 350ml chicken stock
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 heaped tsbp crème fraîche
Peel the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces. Place in a pan of cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Drain and reserve half the potato for later. Return the other half to the pan and mash gradually mixing in the milk. Set aside.
In a large pan fry the bacon until golden then turn down the heat and add the onion, chilli and pepper. Cover and cook gently until soft.
Add the sweetcorn and reserved diced potato into the pan then pour over the stock. Stir in the milky mash and turmeric then simmer for five minutes.
The chowder should be slightly thick but not stodgy, add more milk if it seems to dense. Stir through the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper to taste.