We have dear friends from Iowa who have a log cabin in Lake Lure. They built their cabin here after staying at our rental cottage a few years ago. They fell in love with Lake Lure and now have their own stunning get-away retreat. They arrived from Iowa last week with fresh picked corn from home. You can’t get any more authentic than corn from the heartland of America. What to do with the bounty?
Why, corn chowder of course. We have had cool, rainy weather AGAIN! This was the perfect summer soup.
I have a long history with sweet corn. It was one of the crops that dotted our farmlands in Michigan when I was growing up. As teenagers my friends and I spent time in corn fields. I guess that makes me kind of weird. What were we doing in corn fields you may ask?
1. It was a great place to park. Any couple who wanted privacy could find a hide-away under the full moon, hidden next to the stalks. Very romantic.
2. Carloads of girlfriends loved to stop the car on the road and run to the fields and gather a few ears to eat. We usually ended up with field corn meant for cattle. We were once attacked by a wild pig, but darn it was fun. We laughed and considered ourselves daring.
3. Corn fields were just a part of our environment. Still today, I measure the height of the corn by the old adage ” The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye” and know when it is ready to pick. Growing up in corn country, you just knew.
This corn chowder is hearty with a depth of flavor. I simmered the shorn corn cobs in the vegetable broth mixture for a while to release as much flavor as possible. Give it a try when you have lots of corn. It can easily be doubled.
CREAMY CORN CHOWDER WITH BACON
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/4 cup flour
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
6 to 7 ears of corn, kernels removed and a few cobs saved to flavor the stock
1 1/2 cups cream, 1/2 and 1/2 or milk
Several sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled for garnish
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add the flour and cook 2 minutes stirring frequently to slightly brown the flour. Add the vegetable broth and 4 of the reserved corn cobs and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, partially covered. Remove the cobs and add the celery, carrots, potatoes and corn kernels. Cook over low heat until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the cream, thyme and salt and pepper to taste and cook gently for another 15 minutes. Serves 6.