Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mellow Monday: Corn and Bacon Chowder with Biscuits

Chowders are an east-coast staple and they were one of the first soups I learned to cook from scratch. I can make just about anything into a satisfying rendition of a chowder - it's in the French blood on my mother's side. They are, however, time consuming - the process for this one started yesterday, when I made the stock. It's going to taste even better tomorrow, too, and will probably be lunches for at least a few days as I have to make quite a bit at a time.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Chowder

A staple of the NBCC St. Andrews kitchen, a corn and bacon chowder pretty much makes itself - this variation uses another naturally sweet vegetable in place of surprisingly elusive corn. Like all soups, it's a bit more labour intensive to make from scratch than you would think, but compared to the easy-make canned variety, it's really a whole other thing. This is supposed to be warm and hearty all on its own because I intend to eat it cold more often than not (done properly a cold chowder is actually very refreshing!) Serves Several

  • 250 g of smoked bacon strips, chopped well
  • 1 Fair-Sized Sweet Potato, peeled dice.
  • 250 g of mirepoix²
  • ¼-½ cup AP Flour
  • ~1L of chicken stock, retained warm
  • Sachet or Boquet Garni, as desired³
  • ½L Heavy Cream (35% M.F)
¹In my experience, good quality canned corn is worth the quality loss in order to gain the convenience.
²A blend composed of 2:1:1 celery, carrot, and white onion, finely chopped.
³A sachet is a cheesecloth bag containing the herbs (including peppercorns) that will be used to season the soup or sauce in question, to make them easier to remove afterwards.

  1. Render the bacon over medium heat in the bottom of a good pan with a heavy base.
  2. Sweat the mirepoix in the bacon fat until the white vegetables are translucent.
  3. Add flour and cook the roux blonde.
  4. Immediately begin to add stock in ladelfulls, whisking to prevent lumps with the roux. Bring up to a simmer.
  5. Add potatoes, along with sachet. Simmer until desired tenderness in potatoes is reached and the right level of herbaceous flavour, then add cream and stir well. Remove sachet and serve immediately with biscuits or rolls.

Perfect Tea Biscuits - Mavis-Saulnier Variation

My favourite cooking job (and possibly even my favourite job) that I ever had was working as assistant chef under Ross Mavis of Inn on the Cove, and one of the things I used to have to make a lot of was biscuits. He had a recipe he liked to follow, of course, and while that recipe was all well and good, I like mine like Mom used to make. This is a hybrid version of the two - what, in my mind, makes the perfect tea biscuit. Makes About 1 Dozen


  • 300g AP flour
  • 60g Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 75g Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (35% M.F.)
  • 2 Eggs, pluss Egg Wash (a combination of eggs and water or eggs and milk)
  • ~1/2 Cup of chopped, cooked, and dried bacon
  • ~1/4 cup of finely-diced cheddar cheese
  • Herbs de Provence, White Pepper (both to taste)
  1. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  2. Cut in the butter just until mealy - do not overmix.
  3. Mix cream and eggs together. Add bacon, cheese, and herbs. Mix with dry ingredients just until combined.
  4. Kneed 2-3 times and roll out to about one-inch thick. Cut with the floured edge of a drinking glass.
  5. Place biscuits on a lined sheet, and brush with the egg wash. Let rest for 45 Minutes.
  6. Bake at 325ºF for 20-25 minutes - until golden brown.
While hot, serve with cultured butter or a compound butter. Once cooled, serve with cream cheese.

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