Thursday, August 23, 2012

Amazing Corn Chowder

From cold preparations in the summer to warm preparations in the winter, I am a big fan of the power of soup. I can always throw together a quick soup dinner on using random bits of leftover veggies, meat, rice, pasta, you name it. The possibilities are endless! Soup is also a great way to transition from the summer to fall. The weather in my area has started the slight shift that ushers in the fall. Our days are still warm but the nights have started to cool down enough to require a sweater or light jacket. A warm bowl of soup made with fresh summer corn is the perfect way to greet the changing season. Don't forget to  freeze some of your fresh corn so you can enjoy the sweet taste of summer in the coming months.

Amazing Corn Chowder
recipe slightly adapted from Stiring the Pot originally from Ms. enPlace adapted from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless

3 large ears of fresh sweet corn or 2 1/2-3 cups freezer corn, defrosted
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups milk, plus more if needed
1 cup heavy cream
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste

To garnish:
crumbled feta cheese
minced cilantro

If using fresh corn, husk and remove silk. Cut the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife. Scrape the remaining bits of corn from the con with the end of a spoon. You should have 2 1/2-3 cups of corn. Transfer to a blender or food processor. If using defrosted frozen corn, just place in a blender or food processor.

Heat half of the butter in a small skillet. Add the onion and cook until soft, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add this mixture to the blender, along with the cornstarch and ¼ cup water. Process until smooth. If using a blender, you'll have to pulse the machine and stir several times--but do not add more liquid. Once the blades break up the corn, there will be enough moisture.

Melt the remaining butter in a medium-large saucepan on medium heat. Add the corn puree and stir constantly for several minutes until thick.

Whisk in the milk, partially cover, and simmer about 15 minutes. Over medium-low, stirring often. Strain through a sieve. Rinse out the pan, and add the soup back in. Stir in the cream, salt, and hot sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crumbled feta cheese and minced cliantro.