Saturday, October 20, 2012

Best Corn Chowder--No Salt Pork Needed

This is a light, ridiculously delicious recipe for classic New England-style corn chowder.  It all boils down to the corn stalk.  No pun intended.  You'll see why.

Break out a large dutch oven or other soup pot.


6 ears corn, shaved, kernels reserved (I like lots of corn.  Period.)

2 cups corn water*
corn oil
1 onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded, chopped
clove of garlic, pressed
5 or 6 medium potatoes, diced (I also like lots of potato.  Period.)
small bay leaf
Fresh herbs: bay leaf, parsley, thyme...and perhaps rosemary, or even basil would be nice.  Definitely have some chives on hand
1 pint heavy cream, warmed
Shave kernels off cobs, holding each cob on end and shaving downward with your best chef's knife.  I do mine right on my cutting board.  Completely ignore those ridiculous suggestions that include bundt pans.  You'll have a lot of corn, so a large bowl will be necessary.  Set kernels aside.

Cover shaved cobs with about 2 cups of water in a large soup pot.  Add a bay leaf and cook 'em for 15-20 minutes, slightly covered.  Pluck out cobs, reserving cooking water in a bowl.  Let cobs cool a bit, then wring out their liquid and pulp, being sure to catch every bit.  I did mine by holding each cob over my bowl of reserved cooking water, throttling them like I was wringing out a dishcloth.  Set aside.  Don't you dare wash that pot.

In same pot, add a small glug of corn oil and saute the onion and red bell pepper until softened.  Stir in a clove or two of pressed garlic, wait for fragrance to pop up, then add the potatoes and thyme, followed by all that reserved corn stalk water, er, stalk stock.  Stir well, bring to a boil, then simmer until spuds are just tender, about 20 minutes.  Add all of the kernels, a healthy handful of chopped parsley, rosemary if using (not much!), and all of the heated cream.  Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until heated through and the kernels are tender.  Season with a generous pinch of salt (I used a hickory-smoked salt...delicious) and a healthy grind of black pepper.

Charcoal sea salt garnish.  Smoked salt would be nice, too.

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