Friday, August 20, 2010
Herbed Corn Chowder
So, what to do with all that sweet corn? It's absolutely phenomenal cooked right on the ear, brushed with butter, and sprinkled with a little S&P (I like to wrap mine in foil and roast it until tender). But after a few dozen ears, it's nice to do something different. That's where this herb-flecked corn chowder comes into play. It's my adaptation of several recipes I've seen over the years, and it's deliciously simple - it can easily be on the table in less than 1/2 hour if you've already cooked up a few ears of corn. Or, if you'd like to really speed up the process, you can use frozen corn - the recipe will still taste great.
The choice of herbs are up to you - the anise-like flavor of tarragon would be a nice counterpoint to the super-sweetness of the corn, or basil would offer an italian flair on the dish. I chose a little bit of fresh thyme to brighten up the chowder mixed with a hefty helping of scallions... I love scallions. The sweet corn and herby goodness is brought together with crumbled bacon (I used Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon) and a little heavy cream, but all in all, this is a fairly waist-friendly offering. I tend to make BIG batches of soup, but this recipe is an exception. I'd say it feeds four people if served with a salad or light entree, or two hungry people if it's served as a main dish.
Click here for printable recipe
2 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 c. scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
1/2 c. celery, finely diced
1 T. fresh thyme
3 cups of corn, divided (6 ears or so, cooked until the kernels are tender-crisp)
3 c. milk
1/3 c. heavy cream (can be omitted for a lighter recipe)
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
Over medium heat, cook 2 slices of thick cut bacon until crisp. Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel; once cooled, crumble it into small pieces. Take 2 t. of the bacon drippings and add it to a medium sized pot, over medium-low heat. Add the celery, scallions, and thyme and cook until celery is translucent and mixture is fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 2 cups of the corn and 2 cups of milk; and puree using an immersion/stick blender until fairly smooth (this can be done in a stand blender if you do not have an immersion blender, but be very careful not to splatter hot soup!). Once it is blended, add the remaining 1 cup of milk. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend slightly to get a more smooth consistency if you wish.
Add remaining 1 cup of corn, and continue to heat over medium-low setting until steaming. Turn heat to low, add heavy cream and cheddar cheese; stir well to let the cheese incorporate. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Bacon can either be stirred into the soup, or served separately to be used as a garnish. Garnish also with scallions, if desired. Serve immediately.