Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When It's Good to be Corny

Corn. Chowder. When doesn't that sound good? I will say I haven't even eaten much of it in my time, but I know I've always liked it. It's kind of the same way I feel about meatloaf. Of course corn chowder and meatloaf come from very different families and many people who might love the sound of corn chowder stick their noses up at the first mention of meatloaf. But it's pretty similar in that you probably don't have it too often and its a very homey and classic dish. I wasn't even thinking about corn soup until I flipped through the Country mag****e down there below a few days ago. We all know why I was tricky just now (wink wink) - I won't let them find my tracks! One thing I appreciate about said company is how they analyze the heck out of recipes and try to make them as perfect as humanly possible. So, I jumped in feet first, think feet smashing in a trough of wine grapes, only in this case its lots and lots of corn. I did this from the comfort of my sofa of course.

Let me tell you a bit about why this version jumped out at me and why I went to the store and spent nearly thirty dollars to make a double batch of it. Corn. This recipe is very serious about its use of the main star, Corn. Isn't that the way it should be? When our stickler friends over at you know where started talking about pureeing canned corn with chicken stock to thicken the soup and retain that fresh corn presence I was in. They also gave me a good tip for cutting fresh corn off the cob. And, the recipe also called for adding all of the de-kerneled cobs to the soup in its last phase of the cooking process. As my new friend Mrs. Beeton says, "A stew spoiled is a stew spoiled." - so naturally, I avoided doing that! Remember I mentioned that I would be writing about salad creme and salad soon, well Mrs. Beeton will be the star of that show. More to come! But for now, let me tell you a bit more about this soup.

This soup is very simple in its ingredients. And one of the ingredients is bacon. You can't go wrong there, right. I do think after making it you could toss in a little extra bacon. It also has onions and baby red potatoes which just happen to be one of my favorite things lately. To finish it all off a little heavy cream and scallions. Now this soup is a little time consuming, especially if you double it like I did, but it's worth of it. I feel the need to say that when you spend a lot of time reading about a perfect recipe there is a good amount of build up and sometimes the result just can't live up to that kind of pressure no matter how great it is! This soup could be seen that way. I think when I was reading about it I somehow found my way to cloud nine, I would realistically say this soup is somewhere on cloud five or six. It's good though, friends! It's fabulous actually.

The soup isn't thickened with a roux so what you are left with is a corn chowder that is so pure in its corniness. The fresh corn stays crisp and that works beautifully with the tender, creamy potatoes. The scallions offer nice color and flavor and I suspect some fresh basil would be tasty in here as well. If you find the magazine it also lists lots of variations some including a New Orleans-style version with andouille and red pepper, a prosciutto and sage, and another with sweet potatoes and cayenne. It's not a thick and gloppy chowder. It is filling and leaves you feeling very happy afterwards. Are you ready? Here's Rachelle's Corn Chowder recipe (wink wink), let me know how you like it!

adapted from you know who...
serves 6-8

6 lg. corn ears, I used a mix of white and yellow
2 15oz cans whole-kernel corn, drained, (use Del Monte)
5 C. chicken broth (use a bit less for thicker soup)
3 sl. thick sliced bacon, sliced thinly (feel free to add an extra strap or two)
1 lg. onion, chopped finely
1 pnd. red potatoes, 1/2-inch dice
1 C. heavy cream
4 scallions, thin diagonal slice
salt and pepper

1. Prep corn. A handy trick for cutting corn off the cob is to cut it in half crosswise so that you have much shorter cobs to work with. Just stand it on its flat side and carefully slice down. This makes for more control and the kernels don't go flying around so much. So take the corn off all the cobs and place corn and cobs in separate bowls for later. Puree the drained canned corn and two cups of the broth in a blender until smooth and creamy.
2. Saute the bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until crisped and golden. Remove from pan leaving grease behind in pot. Add the onions and cook until translucent. They will pick up the bits of brown residue from the bacon and that will be perfect. Then add the fresh corn and cook for five to eight minutes stirring occasionally. You can add 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper at this time.
3. Finish by adding potatoes, corn puree, remaining broth or a cup less if you want it really thick, and reserved corn cobs. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes or so or until the potatoes are tender. Discard the cobs which will be hanging out around the surface and stir in cream, scallions, and reserved bacon. I added a lot more salt and pepper at this point. Taste and season according to your taste. This is good for a few days in the fridge. Enjoy!


missmallory said...

I can't wait to hear about Mrs. Beeton (I'm assuming of Mrs. Beetons Book of Household Management) which I've read about before, but have never seen the book itself, I'm curious. I'm also really hoping you're going to share that intriguing salad creme recipe. . . . or a variation thereof.

Love the look of the chowder! When are you going to invite me over for dinner *wink *wink.

tina said...

LOVE that you boiled the corn cobs... totally trying this soon. Corn Chowder is one of the hubby's favs!

RachelleLouise said...

Yes, Tina! Try it! It's pretty tasty. Aside from adding a bit of extra bacon, it would also be fabulous with some grated sharp cheddar on top. That just occurred to me. I think the tangy sharpness would compliment everything. Plus, who doesn't LOVE melted cheese?

Thanks for commenting ladies!! xoxox