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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Recipes in quarantine: Cowboy Corn Chowder

An easy addition to a summertime meal

There are three things that get me excited about summer: watermelon, grilled zucchini and corn on the cob. As the days get longer and the sun shines a little stronger, evenings seem endless. People gather on the front porch and munch on buttered corn. Everyone gets to put their elbows on the table and just chomp down. Suddenly they are comfortable and laughing, and the barriers to conversation are easily brought down by the light-hearted nature of the food. 

When I was in fourth grade, I went on a school trip to a gold rush camp. At this camp, all of us pouty 10-year-olds had to pretend we were back in 1849 and make dinner. We worked with our instructor to make cornbread, and after waiting what seemed like decades, it was ready. Almost 10 years later, I still remember that cornbread, the sliver of butter that sat atop it and how amazing it tasted. 

That cornbread was just one example of how corn creates classics that I think are as enjoyable now as they were for miners during the gold rush. For this week’s recipe, I imagine that a rustic Matthew McConaughey cowboy-type would enjoy it in the middle of the desert after riding on horseback all day. Tired and sore, he would set up camp and begin to make this recipe. Somehow, he would have all the ingredients on this list (as well as an open fire and a pot) and would make cornbread to pair as a side. As it cooked, he would look at the fading sky and feel exactly how I did when I ate that piece of cornbread in fourth grade: absolute bliss. 

Melissa Thayer, a third-year environmental science and political science double major, found this corn chowder recipe to be an easy addition to a summertime meal. Filled with potatoes, carrots and corn, it fills you up with warmth and happiness. It can also easily be made vegan with a substitution of plant-based milk and vegan butter. When remaking this recipe, I found that I had no milk in the fridge and no immersion blender. Surprisingly, almond milk worked well and the blender ended up not being that important in the end. By just mashing the softened carrots and potatoes, the chunks were still present in the end result. Enjoy!

Cowboy Corn Chowder

4–5 large yukon gold potatoes, cubed

2–3 white carrots, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped 

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups vegetable broth

4 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper for additional heat 

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

2 cans of corn

1 cup of milk 

To thicken further: 3 teaspoons all-purpose flour. 

Sauté the onion, pepper and garlic in butter at medium heat until everything is nice and soft in a large pot. Add in the carrots and the potatoes as well as the spices. After a couple of minutes, add in the broth and leave it at a slow boil until the carrots and potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Once soft, lower to a simmer and use an immersion blender to blend about ¼ of the soup. 

Once it begins to thicken, add 3 teaspoons of flour to ¼ of the milk, whisking it separately into a smooth mixture. Once smooth, add the mixture and the remaining ¾ milk to the pot. And of course, add the corn. 

Written by: Athena Aghighi — features@theaggie.org


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