It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I changed hosting companies in preparation for setting up an e-commerce page for a line of handmade floral jellies (more about that later.) And there’s almost daily weeding to be done in the garden. It’s the heart of summer here in the upper Midwest, and that means fresh sweet corn, something I look I look forward to all year.
Even in the summer I always make a soup of the week, and the corn at the farmer’s market was calling my name. Corn chowder is rich, creamy and irresistible, and we’ll eat it for lunch all week, usually with a little fresh salad from the garden on the side.
When it comes to corn, I try not to waste any of it, the first thing I do is make corn stock. You’ll need 5 to 6 ears of fresh sweet corn.
The first step is to remove the husks and silk. Once the ears are silk free, stand the cob upright with the big end down, and using a sharp knife, slice the kernels from the cob moving from top to bottom. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures since I needed both hands for this process, but this is what it looks like when you’re done.
Set the corn aside and turn your attention to the cobs and the delicious corn stock that is the base for corn chowder. You can use it as a base for any soup, but it really adds something special to corn chowder. The method I favor is to put the fresh cobs in the slow cooker, cover with water, add a couple of bay leaves, and some salt and let it simmer on low for 4-6 hours.
It smells wonderful. After 4-6 hours, you can strain the stock and pour it into jars and refrigerate for later, or use it straight away for chowder.
Creamy Corn Chowder
- 4-6 cups corn stock
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels (you can use canned or frozen)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 small bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup half & half or heavy cream
- 1/4 cup butter
In a large pot (you could also do this in the slow cooker, it just takes longer), sweat the onion, carrot and garlic in a small amount of stock. When the onions are soft, add the rest of the stock, the corn, potatoes, salt and pepper, bay leaves and simmer for about an hour until the potatoes are soft.
At this point, if a smooth texture is desired, you can puree in batches in the blender and return to the pan. (I have a stick blender so that makes it easy.) Add the cream and butter, and simmer gently for another hour.
Serve with crusty bread and a side salad for a great summer lunch or light supper.