Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fresh Corn Chowder

I admit it, I'm a corn snob. I refuse to eat corn-on-the cob in winter. I turn my nose up at those plastic wrapped-packaged ears you see throughout the year in grocery stores. For me, corn has to be just-picked from the farm. The good news is that local farm stands have been stocking fresh Long Island corn for the last couple of weeks and my CSA doled out its first batch of corn this week.

Usually, I just boil corn-on-the-cob for five minutes, butter it, sprinkle a little salt on it and eat it quite happily, but I also like to use fresh corn in a few recipes. One of my favorite recipes is one for corn chowder. This particular batch was made with sweet white corn, which is highly coveted by most corn hounds. I may be in the minority, but I prefer ears with both yellow and white kernels. While yellow and white corn may not be as sweet as white corn, I think it has a better corn taste.

Fresh Corn Chowder
Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook
5-6 ears of corn (about 4 cups kernels)
3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium/large potatoes (russet or yukon gold), peeled and cut into 1/4 dice
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
1 red pepper, cut into 1/4 dice
3 scallions, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Boil or steam ears of corn for about 4 minutes. Cool. Slice kernels off cob (hold cob vertically in shallow bowl and slice down cob, cutting off kernels)
2. In large pot, wilt bacon over low heat about 5 minutes to render fat. Add butter and melt completely.
3. Add chopped onions and wilt for 10 minutes over low heat. Add flour, stir over heat for 5 minutes.
4. Add chicken broth and potatoes. Raise heat to medium and cook 12-to-15 minutes until potatoes are just tender.
5. Add half-and-half, corn, black pepper and salt. Cook 7 minutes, stirring occassionally.
6. Add red pepper and scallions and cook another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning, serve with cilantro (or not).
Serves 6

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