Chow Towners who celebrate New Year’s Eve fall into two camps: those who attend parties with countdown fun and those who have a quiet evening at home with a few friends or one other person with comfort food.
New Year’s Eve Oyster Chowder prepared by friends in their Lower East Side 19th century tenement apartment is a fond memory. The chowder, an old family recipe from our friends’ Iowa heritage, was rich with cream, butter, sherry, herbs and fresh oysters. Regretfully, I have lost touch with the friends and the recipe.
Roasted Corn Chowder with Smoked Sausage and Leeks is equally delicious New Year’s Eve comfort food. If you don’t have a favorite New Year’s Eve comfort food or if you’re ready for a new one, try this:
Corn Chowder with Smoked Sausage & Leeks
This recipe is adapted from a recipe developed by Cape Cod Chef and barbecue pitmaster Mike Stines. It is perfect on New Year’s Eve and throughout the winter season.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups leeks, white part only, 1/4 inch round slices
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 pound smoked Andouille sausage or a smoked sausage of your choice, diced
5 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh parsley
Kosher or sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 16-ounce package frozen roasted corn (I get it at Mission Hy-Vee or Trader Joe’s)
1 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in a large non-corrosive soup pan over medium heat. Add leeks, potatoes, celery and sausage; cover and cook until leeks and celery soften, about 10 minutes. Add chicken stock and bay leaves; season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are barely tender. Add corn and simmer for five minutes. Add cream, stir and turn off the heat after 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving. Garnish with fresh thyme.
Note: Experiment with sausages from Bichelmeyer Meats, Werner’s Fine Sausages, Krizman’s Sausage, Broadway Butcher Shop, Local Pig or your local supermarket. Show the butcher this recipe and ask for advice. At Bichelmeyer Meats, for example, ask about their smoked Polish sausage or raw sausages that you can smoke at home.
Ardie Davis founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on food shows and writes for barbecue-related publications. His most recent releases are America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with chef Paul Kirk, and Barbecue Lover’s Kansas City Style .