Corn Chowder

I have always wanted to make chowder. Seafood chowders are very famous here in the Pacific Northwest and I know of a lot of restaurants here that are renowned for their chowders. Unfortunately, they don’t serve vegetarian chowders(duh!) and I’ve always wondered how this dish would taste. When the Fruit/Veggie of the month was announced as Corn, it became a perfect occasion for me to try out this ‘stoup'(in case you are not a Rachel Ray fan..its thicker than a soup and thinner than a stew ūüôā ). We really enjoyed this spicy sweet corn chowder for dinner last night.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 ears of fresh sweet corn
1/2 cup onion finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot finely chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
3 cups 1 % milk
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt
pepper to taste

Method:
Shuck the corn by placing in a wide bowl and running your knife through the cobs in a sawing motion. The 3 ears yielded me about 2 cups of corn. If using frozen corn, substitute this amount. Don’t discard the cobs, they have a lot of flavor. Break them in two. Place the broken cobs and the 3 cups of milk in a stock pot along with the bay leaves. Let it come up to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a seperate saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and let them sweat. Add the garlic, carrots, bell pepper and potatoes. Cook until the veggies are partially cooked. Do not let the veggies brown. Add the chopped jalapeno and corn to the veggies and mix to combine. Adding the jalapeno too early might impart more spiciness to the chowder than required. Remove the corn cobs and the bay leaf from the milk mixture and transfer the sauteed veggies into the stock pot. Let cook over medium heat until the potatoes are really soft and the corn is tender. Add more water/stock if required. Add the thyme, cilantro and half and half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!

Verdict: This creamy stoup is corny goodness at its best. I didn’t think that I would get anything by simmering the cobs, but the milk tasted like corn milk. Kinda like coconut milk but with corn. It was spicy from the addition of the jalapeno, but the spiciness was well balanced by the sweetness from the corn and the milk. Pleasing to the palate as much as it was to picture!

In addition to sending this stoup to the ‘Veggie/Fruit of the Month’ event started by Priya and featuring Corn this month, I am also sending this to Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.

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