There is a hint of Autumn in the air. We had a wonderful Labor Day weekend with our extended family here at the lake. I didn’t manage to get my camera out even once to take pictures of all of the food. David smoked a pork butt for pulled pork and made barbecued beans and blue cheese potato salad from recipes from blogging buddy Dave at My Year on the Grill. It was all top rate. David did take pictures and will be posting about his excellent meal soon.
But in the meantime here is a recipe that is perfect for the cooler nights ahead. It is a stew that uses end of summer bounty to good advantage. It calls for plum tomatoes, but any tomatoes from the garden will do. Add to that sweet corn, green peppers and basil from the herb garden and you have a meal to savor or a wonderful way to freeze what is left from the vegetable garden or from the farmer’s market. But to me, what makes this stew so special is the topping. Thin and buttery corn wafers are floated on the top to add just the right finishing touch. The next time I make this stew, I will double the recipe for the wafers. They are addictive!
We will be traveling to Michigan to visit family for the next few days so I will not be blogging again until next week. I will catch up with all of you then. Enjoy this easy stew.
CHICKEN AND CORN STEW WITH CORN WAFERS ( adapted from Gourmet )
For the corn wafers:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons sugar
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
For the Soup:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1 rib of celery, chopped fine
1 1/4 cups chicken broth (or more if needed)
4 fresh or canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup fresh corn kernels including the pulp scraped from the cobs (2 ears of corn)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
Make the corn wafers: In a bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter, add the sugar, and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg white and the salt and beat the mixture at low speed for 5 seconds, or until it is just combined. (The mixture will be lumpy.) Add the cornmeal, the flour, and the Parmesan and stir the mixture until it is just combined. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and chill it, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Arrange rounded teaspoons of the mixture 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets and with a fork dipped in cold water flatten them carefully to form 2-inch rounds. Bake the wafers in batches in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, with a spatula transfer the wafers immediately to racks, and let them cool.
In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it brown the chicken, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from pan. To the fat remaining in the skillet add the butter and the flour and cook the roux over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it is the color of peanut butter. Stir in the onion, the bell pepper, and the celery and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the broth, the tomatoes, the chili powder, and the chicken with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl, simmer the stew, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, and stir in the corn. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let it cool until it can be handled. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and stir it into the stew. The stew may be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Stir in the scallion greens and the basil, season the stew with salt and pepper, and serve it in bowls, topped with the corn wafers. Serves 4 to 6.