Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Smoky Corn Chowder: Using Summer's Bounty

We have an abundance of Indiana sweet corn at the moment. Sweet corn is in season and our friends and family are eating some of the corn, but freezing the extra for the coming months ahead. Last weekend we went to the lake house in Northern Indiana and came home with another dozen ears, in addition to the other four we had in our organic produce box! Needless to say, I thought a great way to use the fresh sweet corn is to make corn chowder.

My light Smoky Corn Chowder recipe is a combination of sweet, spicy, creamy, and smoky. I used smoked paprika, bacon, and shredded smoked provolone cheese to garnish. I made 4 servings and you can see I pack up the remaining 2 servings for future meals in resealable containers so it's easy to grab-and-go for future quick meals. I use light milk and chicken broth thickened with a roux to make the soup creamy. I happened to have leftover grilled bell and jalapeno peppers from my fajitas the night before so that added even more smoky flavor.

Serve this up with a fresh green salad, fruit salad, or grilled cheese sandwich.

Smoky Corn Chowder (4 servings)
Make with fresh or frozen corn.
  • 6 ears corn (cut off the cob) or about 3-4 cups corn
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 cups green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeƱo peppers
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 slices bacon (pork or turkey)
  • 4 teaspoons shredded smoked provolone cheese
  • Use a wide-shallow bowl and a sharp knife and cut the corn off the cob; set aside.
  • Preheat a soup pot on medium heat. Dice onion, bell pepper, and mince jalapeno. Add olive oil to the pot, then vegetables and crushed garlic. Saute until tender about 2 minutes. Add fresh corn and saute for 3-4 minutes, mixing frequently.
  • Preheat a small saucepan while you're mixing the corn. Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the corn mixture and bring to a boil. Add more broth, if you need it to just barely cover the corn.
  • Add butter to the pre-heated saucepan. Add flour and stir gently with a whisk for 1 minute until the flour and butter is incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of broth and whisk constantly on medium-high heat. The sauce will thicken. Add smoked paprika, prepared dijon mustard, salt and pepper to season. Reduce to low.
  • When the corn comes up to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until the corn is cooked.
  • Cook 4 slices of bacon between 2 pieces of wax paper for 3-4 minutes in the microwave on HIGH. I use a microwaveable bacon rack. Let bacon cool and set aside on paper towels. Shred smoked cheese.
  • Add the thickened sauce to the corn mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Taste to see if you want to a bit more salt.
  • Serve soup in a shallow bowl and garnish with 1 slice of crumbled bacon and 1 tsp of smoked provolone cheese.

Tonight's project will be cutting the corn off the cob for freezing. When you freeze the corn, use a freezer plastic bag and be sure to mark the date with a permanent marker. See my freezer storing tips from my previous post.

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