Hey everyone! I had an itch to fire up a dutch oven (or two) today, and wanted to try something we've not made yet at our house. So, I embark on yet another adventure!
I checked out our pantry and freezers to find that everything I could want for corn chowder was right there in front of me, so it's chowder time!!!
This is a double 6-qt 12" DO recipe build, so adjust your quantities accordingly. Also, I won't be using thermometers, as I want to somewhat replicate what it would have been like to cook out in the open country, as in ranch-hand stye, although this recipe with shrimp would not have been found on their menu, and they would have used heavy cream and water or milk instead of condensed milk. But, before the days of all the high tech gadgets we now have, what would it have been like to keep a dutch oven and it's contents happy while cooking...that's kind of what I wanted to experience. I don't have access to hardwoods for fire, so the briquette fired method using a charcoal chimney and propane burner for starting the fire will have to do.
About a half of a large head of garlic and a med/lg yellow onion will start the base of flavors:
Garlic cloves are minced and ready:
Onion is finely chopped:
Ambient temps are near 30*F as I get ready to start my first chimney of bris, so I'll start with 20 total for just over (roughly) a 230* cooking surface. Low & slow even though I'm not smoking.
Just getting hot coals under this DO with 10 briqs...3 thawed 1lb Pork Sausage chubs ready to start slowly heating through...I'll begin breaking it into chunks as the oven gets warmer:
Just building the coals bed under this oven with 10 briqs as well...I placed 1/2 stick of butter in the center, then, piled the chopped onion around it as a nest:
Now, the garlic goes on top of the nest so it heats through the slowest...this seems to reduce the bitterness you can get from fresh garlic when heated too quickly...this will be covered to sweat the onion & garlic until the corn, potatoes, evaporated milk and chilies go in:
Breaking up the sausage a bit at a time and keeping the cover on between checks:
Onion & garlic are sweating out nice and slow for about 30 minutes without me doing anything to them at all...almost ready for the starchy ingredients and milk:
So, lets get everything gathered up here for the trip to my outdoor kitchen:
Approx. 8 cups of russet potatoes, diced and soaked in water while the beginings of the chowder started cooking...drained and ready:
I spread out the onion and garlic for a closer look...translucent and firm...perfect...time to start building the pot of chowder:
3lbs of frozen sweet corn:
Condensed milk, potatoes and chilies are stirred in to begin warming through...I'll keep abot 10 hot coals burning under the oven until it's hot to the touch on the sides, then try to hold it there for the first two hours while slowly stirring every 20-30 minutes to help it heat through. I want the potatoes to remain firm when this finishes up. Oh, cover on when not stirring:
I have uncovered the sausage to steam off the remaining water, and I'll skim off any excess rendered pork fat with a small gravy ladle just for a healthier meal. This sausage is pretty lean judging by the amount of fat in the DO, so I'll spoon out the meat into a bowl without moving the DO and disturbing the coal-bed or removing the DO from the heat source. Then, I'll ladle the contents of the main mixture into this one until they are level to the eye.
With the flash:
Without the flash:
The empty DO, still not much rendered fat showing here...good to go for transitioning to the bulk of the chowder components:
DO contents are leveled:
Now it's time to ladle the meat into both DO's using only the ladle as a measure, giving even counts for both while the meat is returned to finish cooking and flavoring the chowder mixture:
Time to get those taters and corn to start tendering up a bit more with the covers on, then I'll drop in a bag of pre-cooked shrimp after pulling the tails off:
Both DO's are simmering ever so slowly...perfect:
Taters and corn are almost tender, so it's time to drop the shrimp (2-14 oz bags of large) in to heat through for about 10 minutes...a quick taste-test for salt content and final seasoning, and it's chow...uh, I mean chowder time!!!:
Shrimp is ready to heat through, and I'm about to die from excessive salivation already!!! The aromas of the everything combined together up to this point are killin' me!!! My final verdict is go as is...salt is moderately low, and the flavors are superbe...why would I want to mess with that!?!?!? (if it ain't broke...):
My bowl is filled, at last!:
Hmm, I didn't even write down a recipe for this, it was so simple an easy. Anyway, a med/lg yellow onion, a medium clove of garlic would suffice, 8 cups diced taters, 4-12oz cans condensed milk, a 4oz can green chilies (or larger), 3lbs pork sausage, 2-14oz bags shrimp...oh, and how could I almost forget...3lbs frozen corn, and no addition of seasonings. Who'd of thought? Oh, if you're wondering how slowly I cooked it? 6 hours, start to finish.
EDIT: YIELD WAS APPROX. 6 QTS.
Hmm, I just started thinking of some variations of this basic recipe already, including fine chopped celery, but then a chowder is a pretty basic food...oh, so good though.
That was absalutely fantastic comfort food, if I don't mind saying so myself. Family loves it too, and I can hardly get enough...I'm going for my second (rather large, I might add) bowl now.
Thanks for joining me on this dutch oven quest! Hope you enjoyed the ride as much as we did!!!!