Although the biting chill of winter has set in over Charlotte, I am reminisce of summer, a fantastic farmer’s market and an endless bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. For me, there is nothing better than strolling through one of the numerous Charlotte-area farmer’s markets with my two kids in toe and no commandments directing me on what to buy. Rather, I rest the purchasing power squarely on the shoulders of my son and daughter.
Now, let’s be honest…a family of four can’t live off merely berries and melon for long (although if you’ve tasted an ‘Earliglow’ strawberry at the peak of summer, you may think otherwise!). So, often times, I encourage my kids to go “deeper” and find other fruits and vegetables that can help me build a meal. The result…two plastic baskets brimming with….you guessed it: potatoes and corn (I suppose I need to keep working on their adventurous sides!).
Don’t get me wrong, I see what you see…starch, carbs and a lack of creativity from my 7 and 10 year-old! But, my job as chief curator in our kitchen is to show them how their choices at the market can become something more than a colorless plate of food and to immediately engage their curiosities. In my opinion, an excellent approach to expand your children’s palette is to (1) enlist them in the purchasing (ummm, cereal aisle excluded!) and (2) roll up their sleeves and put them to work!
It’s funny…my kids typically don’t respond well to orders. But, in the kitchen, they both seem to respect my expertise and allow me to act as Command Central. They take their cues with pride and although, in this instance, I have hustled them into one of the most mundane chores (e.g. shucking corn!), they are in the kitchen happy and excited to see what we are creating.
That day we created a fantastic Corn and Chicken Chowder. The overabundance of fresh corn on the cobb and yukon gold potatoes made chowder a plausible consideration. However, the fact that I had leftover rotisserie chicken and just enough bacon to flavor the pot made chowder an indisputable must! Stewed to perfection in a dab of unsalted butter and a touch of remnant drippings, the onion, peppers, garlic, corn and potatoes immediately transform into a substantial base for this soup. The addition of chopped fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and drizzle of honey makes this chowder suitable for any season, and the most finicky of eaters (my kids included, LOL!)
Let the silks fly and the husks mound…kids in the kitchen can be a mess, but the ultimate result is both memorable and delicious! Xoxo and eat your chowder!, E.
- 3 slices Bacon
- 1 T Unsalted Butter
- ½ Sweet Onion (Vidalia), finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced (approx. 1 T)
- 1¼ t Salt
- ¾ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 3 c Frozen Corn Kernels (or Fresh off the Cobb)
- 1 Yukon Gold Potato, skin on, diced into ¼ inch cubes (approx. 1 cup)
- 2 c Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2½ c Whole Milk
- 1½ c diced, roasted chicken breasts, skin removed (preferably from a Rotisserie Chicken)
- ⅓ c chopped Fresh Cilantro, packed, plus additional to garnish (optional)
- 2 T Honey
- 2 T freshly squeezed Lime Juice
- Green Onions (optional)
- In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and let cool on a plate lined with a paper towel. Crumble and set aside.
- Pour off a majority of the bacon drippings from the pot, retaining approximately 2 tsp in the pot. Add the butter to the pot and melt it over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add the corn and the potatoes and cook 2 additional minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chicken broth, cover and cook 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Uncover and remove from heat to cool 20 minutes.
- Measure 2 cups cooked soup vegetables and put in a medium-sized bowl. Transfer the remaining soup mixture to a blender, along with the milk. Puree for 15 seconds, until relatively smooth (a few bits are acceptable). Pour back into the soup pot and stir in the reserved cooked soup vegetables and the roasted chicken. Warm over medium heat 5 to 10 minutes; stir in cilantro, honey and lime juice. Serve with reserved, crumbled bacon and green onions, if desired.