As the corn crop creeps up the coast, heading into New York State, expectations start to stir up in everyone’s belly. Corn: our golden beacon of summer. All of us love it simply boiled, roasted on the grill or even made into a corn relish that we’re able to preserve to enjoy the feeling of summer all winter long. Another great way to extract and preserve the intensity of fresh local corn is the often forgot about but always appreciated Corn Chowder. Simple, delicious and versatile, Corn Chowder is always a crowd pleaser any time of year. And hey, it doesn’t always have to be just plain corn chowder. The act of adding some southwestern seasoning and crab meat to it makes it Southwest Crab & Corn Chowder. Or hop it up with some of those fresh chives growing in your garden. Carmalized scallops, shrimp, grilled chicken etc. anyway you go, it’s easy to add your own touches.
Corn Stock: Shuck and husk 6 ears of the freshest local corn. Reserve the corn kernels. Add all six corn cobs to 1 gallon of water with 1 small onion, chopped and1 stalk of celery, chopped. Bring to a simmer on the back of the stove. This corn stock should simmer for a total of about forty five minutes to an hour. Strain and reserve the stock.
Dice 6 slices of bacon, and render slowly, stirring frequently until lightly browned and crispy in a large thick bottomed pot with 2 tbls canola oil. While the bacon is rendering, make a soup dice with 2 large onion, 4 stalks of celery and 1 red bell pepper. When the bacon is ready, turn the heat to high and add the reserved corn and the diced vegetables to the pot, stirring to coat with the rendered bacon fat. Add to this, 1 stick of unsalted butter, 3 tbls minced garlic, 2 bay leaves and1 ½ tbls minced fresh thyme. Reduce heat, cover and simmer(sweat the vegetables) for 15 minutes. Stir in 2 cups potato, diced and 1 1/2 cup flour. Continue stirring for 5 minutes. Add ¾ gallon of reserved corn stock, stir vigorously to make sure the soup is smooth. If the soup is too thick add some more stock. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Season liberally with Kosher salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper. The soup should be creamy and golden in color. Stir in 1 cup of light cream. Enjoy…..