Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Fun and Corn Chowder

Fall is in full force here in the Midwest and nothing says fall in my neck of the woods more than Knox County Scenic Drive.  I think the original intention of the scenic drive was to promote the area by having stops along a scenic route through the countryside.  It has really turned into "drive from place to place to visit craft/flea markets."  Unfortunately, I do feel the quality of the stops has dropped off in recent years.  Nonetheless, I braved the chilly temps (high of barely 50 I think!) and had a great day with my oldest son!  Kenny is the only one in my family who has the patience for something like the Scenic Drive.  A lot of driving around to crowded craft fairs.  Not the ideal day for Lance and Kelin. :)

Here's my partner for the day:

As we drove around the Knox County countryside, we were able to take time to enjoy some of the fall scenery.  I got a few miles down the road and realized that I forgot my camera!  All of these photos were taken with my phone.  They actually turned out pretty good.

Of course one of the best parts of going on the Scenic Drive is the food!  Mmmmm. Pork chop sandwich and apple dumplings!

We were also treated to some live music while we ate.  This girl was rockin' some Adele!
At the end of this long, cool, fall day, I decided that a hot bowl of Gilson Corn Chowder would be the perfect supper.  Gilson used to be a stop on the Scenic Drive tour and years ago I would go there just for a bowl of the this corn chowder.  The last year I was there, you could purchase a copy of the recipe for 25 cents.  What a bargain!  That was the best 25 cents I've ever spent!  This soup quickly became a family favorite and I make it quite often. 
Gilson Corn Chowder
4 slices raw bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 C. peeled, diced potatoes
3 C. water
3 Tbl. butter or margarine
1/4 C. flour
2 C. milk
2 C. diced ham
2 - 12oz cans whole kernel corn, undrained
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbl. dried parsley flakes
In a large soup pot, over moderately high heat, cook bacon until it is almost crisp.  Add onion and cook until soft.  Add potatoes and water, cover and cook over moderate heat until potatoes are fork tender.  Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Blend in flour.  Gradually add milk, stirring until mixture thickens.  Add white sauce to potatoe mixture.  Add diced ham, corn, salt, pepper and parsley.  Bring just to a boil, but do not let it boil.  Serve.  This may be kept frozen for several months.  Makes 3 quarts of 8 1 1/2 C. servings. 
I follow this recipe pretty closely with a few shortcuts.  When making the white sauce, I melt the butter then add in a little milk, then some of the flour.  If I don't do it this way, the butter and flour just seem to clump up.  I then continue to just gradually add milk and flour, stirring until it thickens.  I also add about 1 C of shredded parmesan cheese at the end and stir until it melts.  I just like the little bit of added flavor it gives.  I also used frozen hashbrowns instead of chopping up potatoes.  It's much easier and still tastes good.  I do defrost the potatoes in the microwave before I cook them though.  One other shortcut I use is frozen onion as well.  I generally only use about 1/2 cup because we don't like it too much onion.  I know that fresh ingredients would be better, but seriously, I'm a busy person just like you are and I'd rather spend time with my family eating the meal than in the kitchen preparing the meal. 
 What bacon shortage?  Mmmmmmmm bacon!

OMG!  Did you know that you can buy cubed ham?  Cutting up the ham was my least favorite part of this recipe.  Yesterday, I found this already cubed ham on sale and it was cheaper than buying it whole and the package contained the perfect amount!  My life has changed forever!  I have yet another shortcut for my meals.

Looks good, huh?  It's a very hearty soup for a chilly fall day.  You really have to try it!
~ Dawn
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  1. I love corn chowder, and yours looks really yummy! Love all the pics of the fall favorites too! Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Have a blessed week & come back soon ~EMM

  2. Thanks Krista! It is a great fall recipe. :)


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