I absolutely love decent corn chowder, and with the unfriendly cold weather of late, a bowl of hot soup makes you feel good from the inside.  My friend Ev in Knysna makes fabulous chowder – here is my colourful chunky version, it’s so easy and so tasty, I had to share my recipe with you. (For a meat free alternative - leave out the chicken & ham, and use veggie stock instead.)

1-2 TBS olive oil
1 large potato, peeled & cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled & sliced into rounds (about 1cm thick)
1 swede, peeled & cubed (if you can’t find any, use a medium sweet potato instead)
2 thick slices of unsmoked gammon
2 or 3 chicken breasts
2 TBS flour
1 litre skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups frozen sweetcorn
1 cup frozen peas
Salt & pepper

1.  Poach chicken breasts in stock and a little of the milk. Remove from liquid and allow them to cool before cutting them up into chunks.  Reserve liquid to add to soup later.
2.  Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the gammon slices, fry them for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from pan and slice into chunky cubes
3.  In a large pot, heat remaining oil and fry the onions and leeks on a gentle heat until soft, then add in potatoes, carrots and swede – give the pot a good stir using a wooden spoon before you add the flour and stir some more so that the flour coats all the veggies
4.  Gradually add the milk and stock, including the bit used to poach the chicken and continue stirring until it is all well mixed together
5.  Turn the heat up slightly and bring to the boil, making sure it doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pot and leave it to simmer for about 15-20 minutes without the lid on, until the carrots, swede and potatoes are all soft
6.  Now add the chopped up chicken and ham, as well as the peas and sweetcorn, stir again, turn down the heat a little and leave to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes
7.  Check the seasoning, it may need a little salt and a couple of cracks of black pepper
8.  Leave it to cool down a wee bit before serving, the longer its left to stand, the more the flavour develops
9.  Serve with sliced ciabatta (lightly toasted), soft butter & a decent bottle of red wine.  (Serves 4 and takes about 40 minutes to prepare)