Monday, September 5, 2011

Spicy Corn Chowder

Summer corn
 Corn season, tomato season, corn season, tomato season, rabbit season ... boom! Sorry, I got caught up in the moment and a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I have been so preoccupied with summer tomatoes that I almost forgot about summer fresh corn. Almost, but not quite, because I came across some incredible looking corn. So, on a rainy weekend day I decided that spicy corn chowder was needed to brighten up our day. It brightened up Steven's and my day but not Katie's. It was way too spicy for Katie and even spicier the second day. I used a serrano pepper and a lemon pepper.

Spicy Corn Chowder

4 Pieces of Bacon
6 Ears of Corn
2 Cups (265 g) of Diced Sweet Onions
2 Ribs of Celery, Diced
2 Hot Peppers, Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, Thinly Sliced
5 Small Potatoes (Approximately 1 lb/453 g), Diced
3 1/2 Cups (840 ml) of Milk (I used 2%)
32oz (946 ml) of Chicken Broth
2 Sprigs of Thyme
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Cut the bacon into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces and place in a soup pot over low heat. While bacon is slowly cooking (it will take about 10-15 minutes), cut the kernels off of the cob (and reserve both the cobs and the corn), dice the the onions, celery, and peppers, and slice the garlic.
Sautéing veggies
Once the bacon is crispy, remove and place the onions, celery, peppers, and garlic in the bacon grease. Slowly cook the veggies until soft. Add the potatoes, milk, chicken broth, and corn cobs.
Taste the chowder and add slat and pepper, to taste. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Everything in the soup, now it is time for a simmer
Once the chowder boils, lower heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove corn cobs and thyme and add corn kernels and bacon. Reduce the heat to low and warm the chowder for approximately 5 minutes until the corn is tender.

To purée or not to purée? All of the recipes I have read instruct the cook to purée part or all of the chowder at this point. I did not do this. I like a really chunky chowder, one where I am wondering whether to use a fork or a spoon. The problem with not blending part of the chowder is a thin chowder. I did slight mash some of the potatoes with a fork. Does that count? Seriously, if you want a thick chowder you do need to purée about a third of the solids.
The finished chowder. I ate several bowls.
The bottom line: Will I make this again? Yes, I will just so I can try the different variations running through my head. Next time I am going to add some fresh tomatoes and okra. I may even breakdown and purée part of the chowder.

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