Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Corn Chowder: Summer in a spoonful

When I was pregnant with Daughter #2, we were living in Korea, which was literally my pregnancy hell - only because I hated Korean food. The SINGLE thing I craved more than anything was CORN ON THE COB the summer of my pregnancy, but it was difficult because I couldn't get it in Seoul. Korean corn is different from the corn in the US, and I remember being tortured by the corn in Korea. I would go to the supermarket, ask the vegetable man if it was the same as US corn, and he always assured me it would be like US corn and I would take it home, steam it and be utterly disappointed. Korean corn is much chewier, tougher and lacking in that corn sweetness we take for granted here in the US. It's just a different species of corn and nowhere close to what I wanted while pregnant.

But I got lucky, as husband remembered that the ubiquitous ribs chain "Tony Roma's" had corn on the cob, US style. Further luckier for me, the restaurant was in husband's work building and so he promised to bring me corn and ribs home one day after I had been especially unlucky stomach wise. I eagerly awaited his arrival back home as I just could taste the corn on the cob. I remember his walking through the door, and my literally flying to him so I could grab the corn. It was a SINGLE corn on the cob (as it counted for a full side at Tony Roma's) and I remember staring at it and saying, "This is it? Couldn't you have gotten more?" Husband responded, "One of those corn on the cobs is 2500 won" (about $2.50 at the time). I started at that lone corn on the cob and began chewing it, and thinking that one corn on the cob wasn't going to be nearly enough. I just started eating it and gnawed the whole thing clean, and didn't even think to offer husband a bite. At one point I looked over at him staring at me and he said, "That good?" I just mumbled something unintelligible as my mouth was full of corn.

But I swore that day, that when I moved back to the US, I would eat my fill of corn and never have that insatiable feeling as I had that day. And recently, I woke up thinking that I wanted to make some corn soup - something with a full rich corn flavor, but not too heavy as it is summer. This is what I came up with - my version of a corn chowder. I did not have fresh corn on the cob, and as I am on the quest to clean out and eat up everything in my fridge, I decided to use some organic corn kernels I had in the freezer. It would probably taste even more delicious with the fresh corn off of the cob, but as I am not allowed to chop too much or attempt too many knife maneuvers, this version was pretty good. You will taste all the sweetness of the corn, the fatty crispness from bacon and the smooth creamy texture from pureed corn. (and no cream!)

Summer Corn Chowder with Bacon and Cilantro
serves 6

4 slices of thick bacon, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, stem removed
2 lbs of corn kernels (frozen or fresh of the cob - about 5 cups)
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 potato, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup milk
Cayenne pepper (for heat if you want it a bit spicier)
chopped cilantro for garnish

In a large COLD pot, add bacon and slowly raise heat to cook the bacon. Cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy and golden. Remove BACON from pot, draining a plate covered with a paper towel, but leave the rendered fat behind. Quickly add onions, carrots, and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add jalapeno and HALF of the corn. Saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add all the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer until all the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.

Using a hand blender, puree the soup until VERY SMOOTH. You want to get as smooth of a texture as possible. Keep pureeing until it is silky smooth. When the soup is super smooth (you test the texture in your mouth), add the remaining corn and diced potato. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the potato is cooked, about 15 minutes. Add milk if desired (or if the soup seems too thick.) Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with bacon bits and chopped cilantro.

Printable recipe

My choice of handblender - not too expensive and completely efficient and functional


peter said...

I think this is one recipe I can handle.

carmencooks said...

EEKS! I love Korean food, but I really feel for you for not being able to get your corn on the cob cravings while pregnant!!

Thanks for this recipe - I've been looking for a corn chowder recipe that doesn't involve heavy cream. :)

Marta said...

I know the corn you talk about. Where I grew up corn has harder and less juicy& sweet as well... I actually never liked corn prior to moving to North America. Now I love it!
And this chowder looks perfect to satisfy any corn craving!

Danny and Esther said...

That is funny! My second one is also a girl, and I only ate locally grown Oregon Corn during the last two month of my pregnancy. I can not believe she is already 13....I will make this corn soup with her while I tell her about the time in Oregon and your funny story. Joanne! you have to write a book! I will be the first one to buy your cook book with stories! I am just tired of reading novels about something too tragic that happened somewhere far away...!!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That chowder looks divine-another corn fan here, especially juicy, sweet white corn. Hehe that is such a cute story! And when you said "It was a SINGLE corn on the cob" I actually said to myself "Just the one cob?"

comprar yate said...

It can't work in fact, that is exactly what I believe.


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