Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fresh Corn, Potato, Tomato, Jalapeno and Bacon Chowder

Our weekly CSA box has been bursting with beautiful ears of corn! Just my small share has produced 4-6 ears every week - not a problem, right? Well...not unless you shouldn't be eating things like corn, nuts and seeds.

It's so frustrating to wait all year long for fresh and local corn season to roll around - so fresh that when you press a fingernail into a kernel, juice squirts so high you sometimes get hit straight in the eye - and then not be able to eat any. (You did know the fingernail test is the gold standard test for corn, didn't you? If a corn kernel doesn't squirt when you press a fingernail into it, just step away from the corn, ma'am.)

Having to miss corn season this year had me mentally scrambling for ways to still enjoy the sweet goodness of the season without encountering any of the unfortunate side effects of the whole kernels. Soup. Fresh corn soup. Specifically, fresh corn, potato, tomato and jalapeno chowder with BACON!

What if I cut the kernels off the cob, simmered them long and slow in a rich broth (WITH the kernel-naked cobs to infuse an even corn-ier flavor), then whirred the bejeezus out of them with my stick blender? Would I end up with a big pot of corn flavor without the dreaded whole kernels? 

Ladies and gentlemen, the experiment was a success. No, the resultant chowder base wasn't smooth as silk, but it didn't matter when nice chunks of potato, tomato, onion, jalapeno and bacon studded the chowder making for a good and hearty meal-in-a-bowl.

Gilding the lily, I topped each bowlful with a sprinkle of chopped tomato, diced avocado and crisp bacon pieces. Ahhhh, summer corn goodness!

Fresh Corn, Potato, Tomato, Jalapeno 
and Bacon Chowder

  • 4 slices bacon - thick sliced, cut across into 1/2" lardons - reserve the cooked lardons for garnish
  • 4 ears of fresh corn - cut the kernels from the cobs and transfer to a bowl, then take your knife and scrape the bare cobs over the bowl to capture all the last vestiges of corny goodness
  • 3/4 C red onion, diced 
  • 1/2 stick butter - unsalted
  • 2 large jalapenos, seeds removed, minced
  • 4 large red potatoes, scrubbed and skins left on - diced small - like hash brown size
  • 72 oz. store-bought chicken stock - a good gluten-free one to make this GF
  • 1 T Jane's Crazy Salt
  • 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced small - same as potatoes, reserve the last tomato for garnish
  • 1 avocado, diced - for garnish
  • shredded cheddar - for garnish

Saute bacon until crisp in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Remove and reserve the lardons for garnish. Add corn kernels and onion. Saute until the onion is translucent and then add the chicken stock. Next add the naked corn cobs, bring the soup to a boil and immediately lower to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the corn is tender as can be, about an hour. 

When the corn gets to the tender point, remove the cobs, letting as much broth as possible drip back into the pot. Now it's time to get out the stick blender (aka, immersion blender). Whirr the hell out of the kernels until they are all pulverized and return the soup to a simmer. 

While the soup is simmering, melt the butter in a heavy skillet, then add the jalapenos and potatoes. Once they soften, add them to the soup as well, along with 2 of the diced tomatoes and the Jane's Crazy Salt. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and beginning to get a little mealy. (Be sure to put the lid back on the pot.)

Once the chowder comes together nicely, ladle it into bowls and garnish with healthy handful of shredded cheddar, topped with reserved chopped tomato, bacon and avocado. Enjoy!

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1 comment:

plasterer bristol said...

This sounds lovely and really tasty. Thank you for sharing this.