With sweet, fresh corn, still available at the local farmers market, we just couldn’t resist trying our hands at some fresh corn chowder. The recipe is adapted from one by Mitchell Davis in Kitchen Sense and is full of flavor. The original recipe calls for a strip of bacon, but you can add a little bacon fat instead, if you have some on hand, or just add a little more butter.
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 strip of bacon or 1 teaspoon of bacon fat (substitute 1/2 Tbsp of butter for vegetarian option)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 large carrot, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 3 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 2 cups), cobs reserved (see steps for taking corn off the cob)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, or Russet, peeled and diced
- 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon strip (skip this step for vegetarian option, just add more butter) and fry until the bacon renders its fat, but doesn't begin to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes.
2 Break the corn cobs in half and add them to the saucepan. Add the milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the "warm" setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.
3 Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Raise the heat, add the potatoes, red pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender.
4 Raise the heat, add the corn kernels and the thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.