It must have been years since I last made a chowder, probably back when my partner still lived with his undergraduate university pals, but my partner distinctly liked it and was attracted towards one in a recipe book recently.
The liking of chowder is something that I can perfectly understand as it is a very hearty, filling and flavoursome dish but it bewilders me because my partner is not really a big fan of cream or milk and despite how much you flavour a chowder there is that very noticeable undertone.
We did make a few changes to the recipe on page 78 in Nigel Slater’s Real Food (though I have an older and less swanky looking version than that currently available so you may need to check the contents for an updated page number) but generally kept to the same ingredients and quantities as best we physically could. It is a dish, partly because of the way the recipe is written and presented, that needs multiple things doing in a very short space of time and it requires a very systematic prepared approach. It is an approach that I generally love but for some reason this recipe did cause me to get a little flustered and my partner to be standing nervously in the kitchen in case I had a full down meltdown (I quickly got into the swing of it and going forward if I do a chowder again in the near future will remember what to expect).
This was full of really good intense flavours with the sweetcorn still maintaining a bit of a bit, the sausage being soft and hot but not disintegrating and the chicken remaining moist and soaking up taste from the leeks, herbs and spices used throughout the dish. The balance of everything put into the dish complimented fantastically and it really became a big warm bowl of comforting joy that worked just as well without some fresh soft bread to soak it up as it would have done with.
One of the main changes we made was regarding the smoked sausage as the recipe did not provide much guidance for what type and what sort of casing it should have. It mentioned that it would be best peeled and cut into rounds similar to that of an old pound coin but none of the ones I encountered when doing the food shopping were the sort that could be peeled before entering the chowder. It is clear this is a different type of smoked sausage to the one intended by the recipe author but it was still delicious, well smoked and made extra enjoyable by not having to mess around trying to peel something that did not want to part ways with the contents.
Chowder is certainly something that I want to make more often and whilst I really enjoyed this one I would be interested in trying something slightly different. If you know of any good recipes please either leave them in the comments below, send me a tweet or drop me a comment on instagram.