Pumpkin, Corn, and Bell Pepper Chowder

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    6 to 8

    servings

Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

If this chowder seems sophisticated enough to come from a fine restaurant, it’s because it was inspired by a creamy, amazing corn chowder with red pepper I raved about at Fearrington House, outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina (operated, as it happened, by an old high school classmate of mine, Jenny Fitch). Forever searching for new ways to use fresh pumpkin in the early fall (not to mention the last ears of summer corn), I transformed the recipe for the Fearrington corn chowder slightly to accommodate the beloved gourd. At first, I simply substituted pumpkin for the potatoes, but the texture of the chowder just wasn’t right. So back in went the spuds, and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Serve this robust chowder with crisp Maryland Beaten Biscuits, as the early settlers most likely would have done.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • One 12-ounce can creamed corn
  • 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 ears fresh corn
  • 1 pint half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup finely diced seeded red bell pepper for garnish

Method

In a large, heavy saucepan, fry the bacon over moderate heat till almost crisp, add the onion, and cook, stirring, till softened, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and cook, stirring, 2 minutes longer.

Add the broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Add the creamed corn and bring slowly to a boil, stirring. Strain through a coarse sieve into another large, heavy saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, and green pepper to the liquid, cut the kernels off the ears of corn, and add to the mixture along with any milk scraped from the ears. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer till the potatoes and pumpkin are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the half-and-half and salt and pepper, stir well, and bring back to a simmer. Serve the chowder in deep soup bowls and garnish the tops of each portion with the diced red bell peppers.