2014-04-24

Corn Chowder


I grew up in the Midwest with the phrase "knee high by the Fourth of July" and ate fresh, crisp ears of corn at the end of every summer. Living in Florida now means that our seasonal vegetables are a little out of sync with most of the country. This week I found a springtime crop of sweet corn at the grocery store. The weather is still cool enough for hot soup, so I decided to make a pot of our favorite corn chowder and to experiment a bit by using corn broth as the liquid base.



The broth turned out to be remarkably simple and satisfying, not to mention a great new non dairy option for a rich soup. To make it I cut the kernels from four ears of corn and set them aside for the chowder. I broke the cobs in half so they would fit in the pot a little more easily and combined them with six cups of water. After simmering for an hour, I removed the cobs and had a quart of lovely golden liquid remaining. To save time, you can go ahead and chop and saute your vegetables while the broth simmers, or else refrigerate it to make a quick meal later.


To make a heartier broth, you can also include both the husks and the silk from the corn, as long as the brown bits are trimmed off first. I'm a fan of shucking the corn into the garbage bin that the produce department provides, so that less mess makes it through my front door, and I leave them out. If you do use them, though, you'll need to strain the liquid through a mesh sieve before using it.

If you don't have fresh corn on hand, don't hesitate to make this soup with frozen kernels and coconut milk instead! It's warm, filling and delicious, with a natural sweetness that appeals even to my finicky kid.


Corn Chowder
(Click here for printable version.)

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 Cups corn broth (see notes above) OR 2 Cups coconut milk and 2 Cups water
kernels from 4 ears of corn OR 2 Cups frozen corn kernels
2 medium gold potatoes, finely chopped
kosher salt to taste

Pour olive oil into a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion, bell pepper, celery and a large pinch of kosher salt. Saute while stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in thyme leaves, then add liquids. Mix in corn and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the corn and potatoes reach desired tenderness. Taste and adjust salt. Serve hot.


I'm sharing my golden soup with:

1 comment:

Alisa @ Go Dairy Free said...

Corn broth - brilliant idea Libby! I could see this making delicious sauces, too.