This satisfying Corn Chowder makes the most of sweet, fresh summer corn. This is one of the best corn chowders I have ever tasted. Made with fresh corn, redskin potatoes, bacon, onions and one simple ingredient that takes this chowder from good to amazing. So what is that simple ingredient you ask? Corn milk! This was the first time that I had “milked” a corn cob. You know that layer left on the cob when you cut the kernels off by hand. That’s where the milk comes from! By taking the back side of a butter knife and scraping off the remaining pulp you get a sweet milky substance that is added to the chowder and allows the fresh corn flavor to shine through. With corn at its peak and as cheap as .25 cents an ear, you have no excuse not to make this delicious chowder.
Yield: 6 servings
8 ears corn , husks and silk removed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion , chopped fine
4 slices bacon , halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups water
3/4 pound red potatoes , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Using chef’s knife or corn stripper, cut kernels from corn; Being careful to remove only the part of the corn kernel sticking out of the cob; cutting deeper will pull off fibrous material. Transfer the cut kernels (you should have 5 to 6 cups kernels) to a large bowl and set aside.
Hold cobs over a second bowl and using back of butter knife, firmly scrape any remaining pulp on cobs into bowl. You will have about 2 to 2 1/2 cups pulp. Transfer pulp to center of clean kitchen towel set in medium bowl. Wrap towel tightly around pulp and squeeze tightly until dry. Discard pulp in towel and set corn juice aside; you should have about 2/3 cup juice.
Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, bacon, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and edges are beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually add water, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Add corn kernels and potatoes. Return to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes have softened, 15 to 18 minutes.
Transfer 2 cups of chowder to a blender and process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return puree to chowder; add half-and-half and return to simmer. Remove pot from heat and stir in reserved corn juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.
Source: Cook's Illustrated, July/August 2011
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