Saturday, August 1, 2015

Quickie Corn Chowder

I have said before that a little ingenuity is often a necessary ingredient in the kitchen. When making this particular corn chowder recipe (sent to me by my cousin, her source unknown), I was reminded of my own adage. As I set up all my ingredients on the counter to start cookin' I realized I had plum forgot to pick up sweet onions along with my other ingredients that afternoon! It was later in the evening and I didn't have the near temerity to go outside again. But what to do? After some thought, I sliced a huge clove of garlic into thirds and threw in three slices of crisply tart green apples to rally forth some sweetness. It was a marvelously successful idea! This "brothy" chowder needed a little thickening to my way of thinking too. So, at the end, I pureed a can of corn that I had on hand with a touch of its own liquid and stirred it back into the pot and let the whole thing simmer before I availed myself to the full, fine flavor of summer!

Summer Corn and Golden Potato Chowder
Makes 4 to 6 servings

(My suggestions in italics)

4 Tbsp. butter (I used Smart Balance dairy free, low sodium 'butter' which worked like a charm)
5 cups fresh corn kernels; reserve two cobs (I only had two ears so the aforementioned can of corn helped tremendously to thicken, but optional of course)
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 large sweet onion, diced (about two cups)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 large Yukon gold potato, diced (I shamelessly used whole canned potatoes which saved time and work, even as I quickly diced them. I threw the taters in at the end just to warm them up)
3/4 cup half-and-half (I don't know about you, but I need to lighten up! Carnation evaporated skim milk worked out very well as more than an ample substitute)

1. Melt butter in a small stockpot over medium heat. Add corn kernels, thyme sprigs, diced onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until corn is tender but not browned.
2. Stir in broth (I only used three cups) and diced potato (or wait until the end if potatoes are canned). Increase heat to high; add reserved corn cobs (great idea to add body!), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Discard cobs and thyme stems. (Also fish out the large pieces of garlic and apples here, if you like)
3. Process 1/2 cup of corn mixture in a blender until smooth. Return processed mixture to stockpot, and stir in half-and-half. Serve immediately. (A garnish of fresh basil and dill is suggested but I just topped with grinds of black pepper and salt, to taste)

Do enjoy!

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