One of the things that I most look forward to each summer is fresh local corn. Kate and I have really taken advantage of the corn season this year and have been gorging ourselves on grilled corn on the cob and corn pudding, both of which warrant future posts. When it cooled off a bit earlier this week, though, what I really wanted was a big bowl of corn chowder.
With that in mind, I walked down to the farmer’s market to pick up several ears of corn and was flummoxed to find that none of the stands had any. I remedied that with a quick side trip to one of the great nearby Mexican grocery stores where I found some lovely corn and was inspired to pick up some jalapenos, as well. On the walk home, I came up with this recipe.
One of the key ingredients that give this chowder a rich corny flavor is corn stock made from the corncobs left over after cutting off the kernels. We already had a couple of quarts of corn stock in the refrigerator that we had made a few days earlier from corncobs we’d been collecting in the freezer from the corn we’d eaten so far this summer. If you’re not already doing this, I strongly recommend throwing your leftover corncobs into a Ziploc bag and collecting them in your freezer until you have a dozen or so. When you’ve reached critical mass, put the corncobs into a stockpot or Dutch oven, cover them with water, add a few teaspoons of salt and bring the pot just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 or 40 minutes until the stock tastes nice and corny. In addition to corn chowder, corn stock is a great thing to have a few quarts of in your freezer as a summery alternative vegetable stock. If you don’t already have corn stock made up, though, you can do a quick small batch just for this recipe as you’re prepping the other ingredients.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Kate and I did. It makes about four servings, but it took some willpower not to eat the whole batch the first night. We had warm corn tortillas to dunk in ours, but I’m sure that corn muffins or some crusty sourdough bread would be equally delightful. Nothing fancy in a way of a beverage is required, but you certainly wouldn’t go wrong with a couple of glasses of a nice cold Sauvignon Blanc.
- 3 ears fresh corn
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, roasted, skinned, seeded and diced
- 3 strips thick cut bacon cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (if necessary)
- ¼ cup all‐purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups reserved corn stock
- Freshly ground black pepper