For me, summer means corn. Lots and lots of corn. On the cob, sautéed, in corn pudding. Corn everywhere. There really isn’t anything like fresh corn on the cob, with just a little bit of butter and salt.
My grandmother used to come home with sweet corn every. single. day. in the summer because my grandfather loved it so. He’d eat several ears each night. Which meant lots of shucking corn took place pre-dinner. We’d sit on the deck, the afternoon sun turning into a cooler evening one, a paper bag between us and see who could shuck faster. It still feels a bit wrong to me to shuck corn inside.
It’s been a bit gray here for the last few days, which is not something I’m complaining about since prior to these dark(er) days, it’s been sunny, 90+ degrees and humid. It’s nice to have some relief and a change. It also means that I can use corn in another favorite way, chowder.
Last year I read somewhere about making corn broth. I tried it and was blown away. Sweet, light, fresh and delicate. I put it into a corn chowder and could truly taste the difference. Of course, I can’t remember where I read about it and I have the suspicious feeling that I may have blogged about it at the time– a quick search through the posts here and I couldn’t find it so maybe I just thought really hard about blogging it. Or maybe this is my second time talking about it which would suggest that you really should try it; it’s that good.
So, based on my need for corn broth, I threw together this chowder recipe. It’s more of a soup than a chowder because while it’s cooler here, 70’s does not scream thick, heavy chowder to me. Let’s call it more of a summer chowder. Chowder-lite. Nothing lite about the taste though. And you’ll still have to shuck corn. Ready? Go!
Summer Corn Chowder
4-6 ears of corn, shucked
about 8 small red potatoes (or one to two larger)
half of a large onion or one small onion (I prefer sweet but yellow would be fine)
one half to one of a sweet red pepper (optional for those of you who don’t like pepper)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2-3 cups corn broth (wait for it, I’ll tell you how) or chicken broth or veg broth or water
1/2-1 cup milk
First, we make the broth. Cut the kernels off of the ears of corn. Set them aside, as we’ll be using them later. Using a fork, sort of scrape down the ears of corn into a large soup pot. Throw in the ears themselves and add enough water to cover. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for as long as you can. You may need to add more water if it gets too low (i.e. most of the cob isn’t covered). I was somewhat lazy when I cut my kernels off. You can see that there are some still on.
After it simmers for at least an hour or longer if you like, take out the ears of corn and discard them. They’ve served their delicious purpose. Pour the broth through a fine sieve so that all the solids stay behind.
You will be left with what looks like, unfortunately, urine. Which can lead to some funny conversations if left in your fridge in a glass container. But if you take a spoonful, you will be rewarded with the light, delicate, sweet flavor of corn in liquid form. Try not to drink it all please.
Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for a few more minutes, until they are soft as well. Nothing should burn or brown. Sprinkle the flour all over and stir well. Let it cook over medium heat for a minute in order to get the raw flour taste out.
Let everything simmer until the potatoes are soft and then season to taste with salt and pepper. You can add a little bit of milk as well, to make it even more creamy or you can serve without. Either way, it’s the perfect cold-for-summer-weather-soup.