Sunday, April 15, 2012

Corn Chowder

Corn chowder was one of the first Mexican soups I tried. I really liked it. They say you can tell the quality of a Mexican restaurant by it’s soup. So far, that rule of thumb has worked out for me. The best soups I’ve had seem to come from great Mexican restaurants.

Eating out all the time to get corn chowder, or any other soup for that matter, is ridiculously expensive, though. I had to learn to make my own. I think this recipe stands up pretty well to it’s restaurant relatives.

A hot corn chowder might be best suited for Autumn nights after harvest time, so freshly harvested corn can be used, but it works pretty well for cool spring evenings, too. This recipe specifies two pounds of frozen corn, but ten ears of fresh corn can be easily substituted. I don’t recommend using canned corn. Blech.

Freezing the bacon for about 15 minutes will make it easier to cut, or you can cook it first and cut it later.

Equipment needed
Mixing bowls
Blender or food processor
Cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons
Dutch oven or other large pot
Garlic press (optional)
Large spoons

2 pound frozen corn, thawed
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 table dried parsley
1 cup heavy cream

Put half the corn and all the stock into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven or kitchen pot over medium heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the broth mixture and the milk, scraping up any of the browned bits (fond) off the bottom of the pot. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and just starting to get tender, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining corn kernels and the cream. Keep simmering until the corn is tender, but still has a bit of resistance to it, and the potatoes are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.


Anonymous said...

You do realize corn chowder is not a Mexican soup, don't you? Perhaps a variation on it would be if it was prefaced with MEXICAN-style Corn Chowder, but at it's core, it's roots are not Mexican but Old American, specifically, New England. The oldest recipe I have come across is by Mary Lincoln, founder of the famous Boston Cooking School.

John Newman said...

I did not know that! The only times I've ever had corn chowder has been at Mexican restaurants. It makes sense, though. Thanks for the head's up.