Finally, got around to cooking the corn we bought at the farm over the weekend! I wasn't feeling like corn before today and kept wavering back and forth as to what I wanted to do with it. This morning Mark Bittman was on the Today Show with fresh corn recipes which you can find here. They include Corn Salsa; Guacamole with Corn; Cornbread; Corn and White Bean Salad and Corn Chowder! That's it, I want Corn Chowder. He took the corn cobs and boiled them in water for broth and cooked other ingredients adding the broth and half and half.
Chicken Corn Chowder is another childhood memory of a visit to a Lancaster, Pennsylvania summer fair where the volunteer fire department served the best soup I'd ever had at that point in my young life! It was Chicken Corn Chowder, my Mother's Uncle was instrumental in making sure we got a good serving. I've followed bunches of recipes over the years and while nothing was ever inedible nothing was star quality. Even ones from "authentic" Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks!
Tonight that is all changed. Yes, I have learned a thing or two over the years about cooking, proper seasoning, how to combine flavors etc. But, also, I have learned that trying to duplicate taste memories is folly for the most part! So I've begun focusing on making a good quality, fresh tasting, well seasoned version of whatever I'm creating. So I read another recipe of Mark Bittman's for Corn Chowder, from August 2008, and went to the kitchen.
Here's what I did: I stripped the corn from the cobs and put the cobs in 4 cups of water and simmered them with some salt for 20 minutes. Sauteed a diced yellow onion and 2 diced white potatoes with salt and pepper. Added the corn kernels and sauteed a bit, added a pinch of sugar and a tablespoon of flour. Strained the corn broth and added to the pot, stirring to fully mix. Simmered this for awhile to thicken a little. I might suggest a little more flour for a thicker soup, if that is your preference. I added 1 1/2 cups half and half and heated through, did not let it boil. Tasted and adjusted the seasoning, adding salt and white pepper. Meanwhile I poached two boneless skinless chicken breasts simply in chicken broth with salt, pepper, sprigs of parsley and rosemary.
For serving I pulled the chicken out of the broth cut into 1 inch cubes and placed in soup bowls, ladled the corn chowder over the chicken and garnished with chopped scallion and chopped roasted red pepper. The tasty result can be seen here:
It was very good, and made a wonderful meal with a sliced heirloom tomato with Russian Dressing and garlic bread! Can't beat summer farm fresh ingredients!