I will never tire of eating fresh corn. Ever. Make it my epitaph, along with ‘devoted wife, mother, and consumer of chocolate.’
(At one point I would have said I would never tire of watching Jersey Shore, but that happened- now it makes me cringe, and I’m happy to report that my brain cells are starting to regenerate. But will you see me sneaking a peek at US Weekly at the grocery store to follow the train wreck that is Snooki being a new mom? Yes, yes you will.)
Fresh corn is tender, juicy, sweet, and just plain perfect. I wish I had the freezer capacity to parboil ears upon ears, freeze it, and feast on fresh corn all year round, but I don’t, so I need to take advantage of corn season while I can.
‘Corn chowder’ is not exactly synonymous with 90-degree weather, but this ‘fresh corn chowder’ is totally summery. Why? Because most corn chowders use the canned stuff, and this relies on fresh sweet corn at its peak. Plus, there is bacon in it, and if we want to talk about a food for all seasons, it’s bacon. The bacon adds a little smokiness, the grated potato a little thickness, the half and half a little richness, the ground chipotle a little spiciness, and the fresh corn a little awesomeness. The total cooking time is pretty short, too, so the veggies maintain their natural texture and sweetness.
When you’re looking for something beyond corn on the cob, definitely make this fabulous soup. And if you want to have a good chuckle, try to envision Snooki figuring out a breast pump (#wheredoIhookitup?).
- ½ lb thick-cut smoked bacon (about 6 slices), cut crosswise into ½" pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
- 1 t fresh thyme
- 5 c fresh corn kernels (from 10 medium cobs)
- ¼-1/2 t ground chipotle powder
- 2 c half and half
- 2 c low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grated white cheddar, for garnish (optional)
- Brown the bacon in large Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate, reserving fat in pan. Pour off excess if you have more than 2-3 T fat.
- Over medium-high heat, sweat the onions, half the scallions, the celery, bell pepper, and thyme until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the corn and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chipotle powder and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the half and half and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the grated potato, lower the heat to medium, and cook, covered, until the potato is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with reserved bacon and scallions, and cheddar, if desired.