Corn is so ripe right now that I can feel the fatness of the kernels right through the husk, no need to pull back the husks. Plus as a bonus, it’s on sale for just 20-cents an ear (practically free). After discovering this recipe a few years ago, corn chowder has become a delicious way for me to enjoy sweet summer corn during peak season. I’ve updated the recipe a little, to include changes to deepen the flavor and elevate this to a strong 4-1/2 stars. Chris Kimball’s original recipe calls for cooking the bacon and onions only until they soften, I now brown them a little to build up a fond on the bottom of the pan; the corn chowder is even more satisfying. Perfect for your 4th of July barbecue.
- The original recipe does not brown the onions and bacon; starting the onions and the bacon at the same time, and stopping before the bacon gets crispy. While the original recipe results is a fresher tasting chowder, the richer flavors from developing a fond and crisping the bacon deliver a much more satisfying bowl.
- While step 1 sounds confusing, when you separate the kernels and pulp from the cob. I was worried that I might be cutting away too much pulp and I sliced off the kernels, but in the end you will throw away the solid from the pump (after extracting the juices). So the bottom line is you shouldn’t worry.
- When I squeeze the pulp, I only got 1/2-cup of juices; not the 2/3-cup that Chris Kimball says the pulp should yield. But the story is the same every time I make this recipe; I think you will never get 2/3-cup. Today’s corn was so fat and juicy, if it didn’t happen today I think it will never happen.
Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time: 5:30. Dinner time: 6:15
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared them today are given below:
8 ears corn
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 slices bacon
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups water
3/4-lb red potatoes
1 cup half-and-half
Up to 1 Tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Remove husks and silk from corn. Cut kernels from the cob using a chef’s knife, being careful not to cut away too much of the pulp. Then over a large bowl, use the back of a stiff butter knife to scrape the pulp into the bowl (once you try it you will see how easy the pulp comes away from the cob). Put pulp in a clean kitchen towel and tightly wring the pulp allowing the juice to fall back into your large bowl. Chris Kimball says that I should have been able to extract 2/3-cup of juice, but I was only able to extract about 1/2-cup. Throw away the dried pulp.
- Stack your bacon slices and slice them lengthwise, then cut them into 1/4″ pieces. Finely chop your onion, and mince you thyme.
- Set a Dutch oven over medium burner; Add bacon and cook for 4 minutes; a head-start before adding more ingredients.
- Add 3 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Add onions, thyme, and 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, for 10 to 12 minutes. The onion will be done when it has browned slightly, and there is a fond on the bottom of the pan. While that cooks, dice your potato into 1/2″ pieces.
- Mix in 1/4-cup flour and stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk in 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your corn kernels and diced potatoes. Bring back up to a simmer, then reduce the burner to medium-low and cook for 18 minutes until the potatoes are ready.
- Remove 2 cups of chowder to blender and process it for 1 minute until smooth. Return processed chowder to the pot, and add 1 cup of half-and-half, and continue to cook until the pot has again reached a simmer.
- Remove from burner, add corn juice, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and as much as 1 tablespoon sugar depending upon the inherent sweetness of your corn.
- Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle each bowl with 1 teaspoon minced basil.