Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Corn "Chowder"

The corn around here in Northern California has just started to come into season and I've been thinking of new ways to use what is possibly one of my favorite vegetables. I've done corn salad, corn salsa, cornbread, you name it, but never tried corn chowder. One of the things that has held me back is that they tend to always be quite heavy and cream-laden, which is not exactly what you want in the middle of the summer. I found a recipe in my Outstanding in the Field cookbook which brought up the notion that corn has so much flavor and a creamy consistency on its own that you don't really need cream. I took the basis of that idea and came up with my own (easier) version, which I think is now certainly one of my favorite soups - and I really like soup.

Summer Corn "Chowder"
Serves 6

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

6 ears corn (white or yellow, whichever looks best)
1 large yellow onion
1 carrot, small diced
1 1/2 lb. yukon gold or fingerling potatoes, peeled and diced
1 t. dried summer savory
2 bay leaves
5 c. water
Kosher salt
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter
Creme fraiche, for serving
Chopped chives, for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large stockpot or dutch oven or medium heat. Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Saute for about 5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the carrot and saute another 3-5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add the potatoes, corn, and summer savory and saute for 2 minutes. Add the water, bay leaves and 2 t. kosher salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low/medium-low and simmer for about 40 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Then, either use a hand immersion blender to blend the soup slightly so that you end up with some smoothness and still some chunkiness, or take about half of the soup out of the pot and pulse in a blender or food processor until pureed slightly. Return to pot if you used a blender/food processor, stir, ladle into bowls, and if you'd like to do as I did, top with just a little creme fraiche and chives (these are already stirred in in the picture above).

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