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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Corn Chowder

Sweet corn on the cob is one of my very favourite things.  Corn season has just about wrapped up where we are, so I used the last of the summer corn to make this amazing corn chowder.  So much sweet corn flavour!

We've been very lucky this year with our local corn.  Between the local markets and our CSA basket, we've had some pretty delicious cobs!  We like to eat them boiled in lightly salted water with a touch of sugar for just 7 minutes.  We eat them plain, without butter or even salt, unless the corn needs the help.  

I see lots of corn recipes that look interesting, but when boiling and eating is so satisfying, it's hard to put in more effort than that.  But I think this soup is worth it.  It's creamy and filled with amazing corn flavour and texture.  

This recipe comes from Serious Eats.  Here's what you need. 

6 cobs of corn, peeled
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tablespoons flour
1 russet potatoes
2 cups half and half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions, finely sliced

When I first read this ingredients list, I had my doubts.  Fennel and coriander seed can be rather strong flavours and I was worried the corn would be overpowered.  But I have learned to always trust Kenji at Serious Eats so I went ahead, and I was glad I did.  The fennel and coriander, along with the peppercorns and bay leaf, simmer in the corn stock and are strained out to make a beautiful, mild, flavourful base for the soup.  The flavours are fantastic together.  

First, remove the corn from the cobs with a sharp knife.  This can get a little messy, as you can see.  Using a big plate or even a large kitchen towel is a great idea.  Put the corn aside and save the cobs.

Scrape the cobs into a large pot with the back of a knife.  This will let all the leftover juice and corn flavour come out.  Break the cobs in half and place them in the pot.  

Cover with the stock and add the coriander, fennel seed, peppercorns and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain the stock, reserve the liquid and discard the solids.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic.  Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the corn, onion and garlic over low heat for about 7 minutes until softened.  Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring for a minute more.

Add the corn stock while stirring.  Add the potatoes and a teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Add the half and half.  If you have an immersion blender, blend the soup a little until creamy and combined.  If you don't, remove about 1/3 of the soup and blend it in a regular blender, then return to the pot.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the chowder sprinkled with sliced green onions.  It is creamy and delicious, and tastes great the next day too.  

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