Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Corn Chowder-Cracking the Eccell Code

Years ago I worked at Cafe Eccell, a very popular restaurant in College Station, TX. There are many items on the menu that pop in your mouth and leave you hungry for more. When people are made aware of my ties to that restaurant I usually hear these words fly out of their mouths: strawberry tart, chicken salad, bbq chicken pizza, steak, corn chowder. . .
Their food is so good and memorable that I even encountered an Eccell fan while living in Pocatello, Idaho. She thought their corn chowder was the best she had ever tasted and she's not alone, my household feels the same way.

So with that, I was on a corn chowder mission. I did not make the savory goods at Cafe Eccell (made the sweets) and did not have a recipe to work off of. Therefore, I had to take the ingredients that I knew was in the chowder and work from there and. . . EUREKA!!! I think I cracked the code!

This soup is ridiculously rich, creamy and velvety. It is the ultimate soup indulgence and looking at the ingredients I'm sure you'll agree. The butter, corn and added sugar give this soup a wonderful sweetness while the red onion, black pepper and jalapeno add a kick and nice spice to the back of the throat. Milk and added cream enhance the chowder's creamy, silky and luxurious texture.

I hope I've lured you in and convinced you to try it. After all, who doesn't need to reward themselves with an ultimate comfort food once in a while? And when you do-let me know- I'd like to hear how it turned out.

Melissa's Corn Chowder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 T.)
1 stick, cubed + 1 T. of butter
2 29 oz cans of corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, medium diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
4 red potatoes, diced
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. + 1 T. flour
1 T. sugar
Salt and Pepper
1/4 c. Heavy Cream
Parsley, chopped (opt.)
Cornbread, crumbled (opt.)
  1. Heat Olive Oil and 1 T. of butter in stock pot. Add bell pepper, onions, celery and half of the chopped jalapeno and saute until onions are translucent.
  2. Add potato and saute for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Add corn.
  3. Meanwhile, add flour and cubed butter into bowl and squish them together with your hands until incorporated. Add butter/flour mixture and sugar to chowder, bring to a simmer and stir until butter/flour mixture is incorporated into the soup. Add remaining jalapeno.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Take off heat and drizzle in heavy cream until you've reached desired consistency.
  6. Garnish with cornbread and parsley
Lets talk about seasoning with salt and pepper. You want to season throughout the whole cooking process. Which means, season the veggies to enhance their flavor, taste and season again once you've added the chicken stock and milk, taste and adjust seasoning at the very end to ensure a rounded flavor to your liking.


Cochran Family said...

Mmmmmmmmmm...I agree that their corn chowder is amazing. Which reminds me that we haven't been to Cafe Eccell in quite a while! We've been tending to go to their new Eccell Steakhouse for special occasions. And it is super yummy also. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage said...

An award for you on my blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, I made the corn chowder and some honey cornbread muffins tonight!! The recipe was DELICIOUS - you are the best. I literally have soup for the next 3 weeks. Can't wait to try out more of your fun concoctions. Thanks so much! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great Job!
Do by chance know the recipe for their house salad red bell pepper vinaigrette dressing?

I'm addicted to it.


Robin Walls said...

I know you must get this all the time...but do you have the Cafe Eccell strawberry tart recipe? I am on a hunt to find it!!

Janice F. said...

Do you know how to make the Strawberry tart? I'd love to make that one!

gpsguy said...

I made a couple of modifications to the Corn Chowder recipe. Mainly, I used fresh corn and essentially halved the recipe. For our family, too, the jalapeno is a non-starter. I used 1 drop of Tobasco Habenero in its place.

½ stick, cubed + 1 T. of butter
Kernels from 3-4 med. Ears white or yellow fresh corn
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
1 stalks of celery, finely diced
½ medium white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
1 med. White or russet potato (or 2 med red potatoes), diced
1¼ cups chicken stock
1 c. whole milk
3 T. flour
½ T. sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
up to ¼ c. Heavy Cream

Cooking info is unchanged.

Anonymous said...

hi there, I was craving corn chowder and none of the recipes on Food Network or Allrecipes looked good. I used to love Cafe Eccel's corn chowder, so I just thought, why not, and googled it, and your recipe came up. It was spot on. Perfect! Thanks for making my night!!

Melissa said...

@Anonymous: Great! I am so glad you enjoyed it!

Crystal said...

Do you by any chance have the recipe to the strawberry tart? I have no idea on how to make the cookie shell.

Melissa said...

@Crystal: I'm sorry but I do not have the recipe to the strawberry tart. The shells are very similar to this recipe

The shell is very similar to an almond lace cookie, just formed into a the shape of a bowl.