Sausage Corn Chowder
From John’s Dad, Mike
In honor of Valentine’s Day yesterday, I present to you the story of how John didn’t propose.
Every March we spend a week at John’s parent’s home in Marco Island, FL. We drive down with the dog(s) and spend 8 amazing days laying around, taking the boat out, reading, and cooking with fresh seafood and produce that’s still out of season up North. It’s paradise. And I guess marginally more romantic than Chicago, IL. It’s also tax-free to buy a diamond in Illinois and have it shipped directly to Florida. A fact that only a man on the verge of engagement might know…
So let’s focus in on one particular trip: March, 2010. It’s a sunny morning, mid-week, Lucy the Portuguese Water Dog is characterisically napping a safe distance from the very scary pool, I’m reading a book on the couch, and John’s dad is starting on a delicious sounding corn chowder in the kitchen. All signs point towards another blissfully uneventful day in Margaritaville. Enter John. He suggests we take the jet skis out for a while before lunch. Ugh. I apologize in advance to everyone out there who would give anything for unlimited access to jet skis, but I hate them. I don’t like going fast, and I really hate driving. But I know John loves them, and reminds me frequently that riding tandem makes them too heavy to do anything cool (geez, way to make a girl feel skinny…). So I grudgingly agree to go out for a SHORT while, each on our own jet ski. We set sail, with images of the corn chowder in my future fueling my spirit.
As you’ve probably figured out by the title of the story, John had a few tricks up his sleeve for this particular ride. Well, you know that saying “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? Yeah, He probably got a real kick out of this one. After about 10 minutes of tooling around the canals, we started to hear a terrible scraping sound. We had beached the skis on a super shallow patch of rocks. Awesome. No amount of gas could get them to move, and we were forced to hop into the gravely mess to push them off the rocks, getting thoroughly scraped up in the process. Now, back on the skis, blood running down our calves, I’d had enough. I begged John to lead us back home where we could heal our wounds with a big bowl of soup. Defeated, he gave up on the bottle of champagne and ring hidden in his jet ski and retreated.
This, as you may have guessed, is that soup.
Also, in case you’re all dying to know, John ultimately proposed the Monday after we got back, in our kitchen, which was plenty romantic for me 🙂
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2/3 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup red potatoes, diced
- 1 4-oz can diced green chiles (don’t drain)
- 1 lb frozen corn
- 6 oz smoked (not raw and crumbly) sausage, diced (we used a chipotle chicken sausage)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt, to taste (don’t be shy, potatoes need salt, just keep adding and tasting until you like it)
- pepper, to taste
- adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce) or liquid smoke, to taste (we used 3 Tbsp adobo sauce)
- Melt butter in a large sauce pan or medium dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Add onions and celery and cook until tender, but not brown.
- Add flour and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, or until just barely light brown. It will form a sort of flour ball, but don’t worry, the broth will thin in out.
- Add broth, mixing well to combine.
- Add potatoes and green chiles. Simmer 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
- Add corn and sausage. Simmer an additional 20 minutes.
- Stir in heavy cream, salt, pepper, and adobo or liquid smoke.