Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spicy Corn Chowder

We've had access to lots of fresh veggies lately so I've been cooking even more than usual.

With all this bounty available, one thing I just can't resist is fresh corn. We've been eating a lot of it lately, not so much that we're actually bored with it, but enough that I started looking for different ways to serve it.

I came across a recipe for fresh corn chowder and decided to give it a try. The first time, it was good, but not great, then I started playing with it and I'm happy to say that now it's just about perfect, so I thought I'd share.

You start with six to eight ears of fresh corn. Now I guess you could use frozen corn, but it's really not the same. You want that milk that comes out of the cob when it's fresh to get the really good flavor.

The idea is to get the corn off the cob, along with all the liquid you can. I put a small bowl in the center of a large bowl, place the cob firmly on the small bowl and, using a sharp knife, just strip the corn down into the bowl. After you're gotten the first of the corn off, dig in a bit harder to get all the milk from the cob. Save the cobs, you'll use them later. I need to mention that I saw this corn stripping method on the Food Channel, and if I could remember the show, I'd give credit, but sadly, my memory fails me again!

After you have all the corn cleaned, chop up an onion and some garlic. I like a lot of garlic so I usually use four or five cloves, but do as you like.

Now take a large pan and heat up some oil to get the onions and garlic all nice and soft. At this point, I like to take one Chipotle Pepper and chop it up fine and dump it in, along with about two teaspoons of the Chipotle juice. Stir it all up till mixed well and add the corn.

A note on Chipotle Chilis. I buy them canned and then put them in a special little resealable container and always have them in the fridge. I always use the same resealable container, because the chilis are quite strong, so by using the same container, I don't ruin a bunch of them. Depending on how often you use them, they should last a month or better. When I want some nice smoky heat, I always go with Chipotle Chilis, they're just so flavorful!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .

So now you have a big pot of onions, garlic, chili and corn. Crank the heat up and using a wooden spoon, stir till the whole mixture is warmed through. Now add about 6 cups or so of chicken or vegetable broth.

At this point, I like to season the whole pot, so take a sip and see what it needs. I add kosher salt, black pepper and usually a hit or two of Cholula Hot Sauce or Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. Sometimes I use both! Just get a bit of heat going. You want it to taste like a sweet rich corn soup with a teensy after bite on your lips.

Now you want to add the corn cobs (I usually break them into several pieces) and bring the whole pot up to a boil. Now cut the heat so you have a good simmer and let it go for thirty minutes or so.

Now pull the corn cobs out and discard them. They should have released any hidden flavor by this time. Again, check your seasonings. Now, get out your stick blender (you do have a stick blender, don't you?) and mix the whole thing up till it's smooth and creamy. If, by some oversight, you don't have a stick blender, you can put it in a blender, but really, the stick blender is so much easier! Anyhow, one way or another, you want to get it smooth.

Now some folks like to strain their corn chowder, but I like all that roughage, so I don't strain, but that's a personal choice.

Now add anywhere from one half to a whole cup of heavy cream. Yeah, I know, but it really makes a difference in the finished taste and texture. I also like to add about one half cup to one cup sour cream, you can use fat free if you like. Once again, check those seasonings and warm the whole pot through.

Now you can sit down and prepare to be transported!

I like to serve this with a bit of chopped red pepper on top, or with some red pepper puree, but really, it's yummy all by itself.

We had it tonight with a loaf of fresh baked bread and we are Happy Campers.

Life is Good.

1 comment:

Judy said...

s need to know.

Judy Wms.