Recently back from a week-long vacation on the coast of Maine to the little town where Mom grew up, I’m still craving the simple old-fashioned foods I ate while there: lobster rolls, fish chowder, fried clams, scallops and soft-serve ice cream cones.
I’m beginning to believe that the foods that we ate growing up and that our ancestors ate are recorded deep within our DNA and that we never stop craving them.
So, I pulled out my copy of Cooking Down East, by Marjorie Standish (circa 1969) which is chockablock with simple, plain, old-fashioned Maine recipes and made a pot of this Maine Corn Chowder.
I adapted the recipe to accommodate what I had on hand. The recipe called for two slices of salt pork, once a staple in Maine kitchens, but something I rarely have around unless I’m making a pot of baked beans, so I substituted a little bacon grease instead. I used two cans of creamed corn instead of one because Mom always did, and decreased the milk by a cup to make the chowder a little thicker. I also added in a few real bacon bits, which is totally optional.
We all thought this Maine Corn Chowder was yummy, especially Mom. Each satisfying cup has 201 calories and 5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.
- 2 teaspoons bacon fat or olive oil
- 1 small onion (1/2 cup) diced
- 2 stalks celery (1/2 cup) diced
- 2 cups diced raw potatoes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 cans (about 15 ounces each) cream style corn
- 3 cups low-fat (1%) milk (I used half fat-free evaporated milk)
- ¼ cup real bacon bits (optional)
- In a large saucepan, melt the bacon grease over low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook slowly until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add water, diced raw potato, salt and pepper. Cover and bring just to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Add the creamed corn and milk and bacon bits if using. Taste and adjust seasoning. Allow chowder to sit for an hour to develop flavor. Gently reheat when ready to serve.
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