We had made a couple of different soups this week that were great for dinner and lunches. Yesterday. I posted the recipe for the bean and barley soup we made. Today, it is the classic corn chowder we made for dinner one night. This recipe comes from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, but I did modify it slightly to fit a little better with ingredients we had on hand and make things a little easier. While you can still get fresh corn on the cob this time of year, it is not as good as the nice local corn we see in the summertime months here in New York. We used a combination of fresh and frozen instead, even though the recipe calls for all fresh. We also used bacon instead of salt pork mainly because that is what we had on hand. I think the taste worked out just as well anyway.
Classic Corn Chowder
10 ears corn, husks and silks removed ( or three 1-pound bags frozen corn kernels)
3 ounces salt pork, rind removed, cut into two 1-inch cubes (or 3 slices bacon, diced)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
12 ounces red potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Using a paring knife, cut the kernels from 4 ears of corn. You should have about 3 cups of kernels. Grate the kernels from the remaining 6 ears of corn on the large holes of a box grater into a bowl, then firmly scrape the pulp remaining on the cobs with the back of a butter knife or vegetable peeler. You should have about 2 cups of grated kernels and corn pulp.
Saute the salt pork in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, turning with tongs and pressing down on the pieces to render the fat, until the cubes are crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. If you are using bacon, saute the bacon until it is crisp and then remove it from the pot and reserve. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the butter and onion, cover, and cook until the onion is softened, about 12 minutes. Remove the salt pork and reserve. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add the chicken broth. Add the grated corn and the corn pulp, potatoes, milk, thyme, bay leaf and reserved salt pork or bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved corn kernels and heavy cream and return it to a simmer. Simmer until the corn kernels are tender and yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and salt pork. Stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Since we used mostly frozen corn, here is what we did with the first step. We 2 cups of the frozen corn and about 1/4 cup of water and ran it through the food processor for about 30 seconds to create the corn pulp and juice that is used in the recipe. We then used the rest of the frozen corn kernels in place of the corn taken off the cobs. We also used the immersion blender towards the end of the cooking to blend up some of the soup itself to make it a bit smoother while still retaining much of the corn itself. I think it turned out very well and we got a bit of a thicker chowder, which I really liked. It was even better the next day for lunches.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for more recipes. I have some beer braised chicken, a London broil with horseradish sauce and some homemade Parker House rolls still to come, among many other recipes. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!