I don’t know how it happened, but it’s fall in the Garden State. My herb garden is bravely holding on, but the basil is getting pale and woody. The leaves are drifting down, the heat is kicking on at night, and I’m starting the yearly ritual of folding up my sundresses and pulling out my sweaters. And while I am always sad to see summer go, I gotta admit that I do love fall. Fall means butternut squash, football games, an entire aisle of Halloween candy just begging to be tossed in the shopping cart…and SOUP! I love my soup recipes with a passion, especially those that are thick with chunky ingredients that make them completely acceptable as dinner. And anything that has the word “chowder” in it…well, it basically has me at hello.
This quick and easy chowder is kind of a cross between a soup and a casserole…it starts out on the stovetop, but you finish it up in the oven, and it’s the perfect comfort food for those first chilly evenings when it starts to dawn on you that this really MIGHT be the year that you start your holiday shopping early. (This dawns on me every year, and one year it will actually happen. I’m sure of it.) Meanwhile, this is a great one to try while you can still get fresh corn here and there as the farmer’s markets are having their last hurrah, but if you can’t, frozen will work just fine. I make this one in individual oven-safe dishes so everyone has their own delicious portion. If you put a napkin on your regular plates and then put the baking dish on top, it won’t slide around or damage your nice tabletops. Just make sure you warn your lucky fellow eaters (especially the kiddos) that the serving dishes are hot!
Come on in, Fall!
Chowder Bake, adapted slightly from Real Simple
6 strips bacon, diced
2 leeks (white and light green parts), chopped
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound cod (skinless), cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups oyster crackers
Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until almost crisp. Spoon off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the potatoes, corn, wine, cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil.
Transfer to 4 oven-safe single serving dishes. Nestle the cod pieces in the potato mixture. Top with the crackers. Cover loosely with foil.
Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Kate Morgan Jackson is an editor, photographer, and writer. Her cooking and photography blog, Framed Cooks, is a collection of recipes and pictures designed for the busy cook, and her posts have been featured on a variety of sites including Glamour, Saveur, The Pioneer Woman, Steamy Kitchen, The Kitchn and Design Crush. She is a natural light photographer who specializes in portraits of children, animals and of course food of all kinds. Kate is a long-time resident of New Jersey, currently residing with her husband, daughter and rescued redbone coonhound in Upper Saddle River.
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