Sweet Corn Chowder

I always buy too much corn on the cob.  Whenever I go to the farm stand to pick some up for dinner, I always get at least a dozen, even if it is only Nate and me eating it.  But I never let any of it go to waste!  Most often I freeze it, as I discuss in my post on Preserving the tastes of summer, to savor in the deepest depths of winter in one form or another.  But I also love to use the left over corn on the cob in other dishes, two of my all time favorites are this Sweet Corn Chowder and my Warm Corn, Radish and Green Bean Salad (post to come).

Most soup recipes, and especially chowders, call for heavy cream or whole milk.  While this ingredient makes soup creamy and delicious, it also jacks up the fat content of the soup.  As a result, I most often use whatever milk I happen to have in the fridge, usually skim, rather than the ticker and creamier alternative.  In addition, I usually add a little flour or puree a bit of potato or something, depending on the soup, to make up for the creaminess of the whole milk.  While this may not be for everyone, I highly recommend at least trying it once or twice, with whatever lower fat milk you want, because I never seem to miss the cream.

The one thing that should be noted however, when using a milk with lower fat content, is that the lower the fat content of the milk, the more likely the milk is to curdle if boiled.  This has NEVER been a problem for me, so it is not something I would worry about too much.  But what I would recommend, is removing the soup from the heat before or right after you add the milk.

Sweet Corn Chowder

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
8 ears of corn, husked and cut off the cob (about 5 to 6 cups of kernels)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch squares
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup flour
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 to 1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar 
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat and saute onions, bacon, thyme, salt and pepper until the onions are soft and the bacon begins to cook, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add flour gradually while stirring, and continue to stir until throughly incorporated about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly whisk in broth and water, so that no lumps form.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil and add corn and potatoes and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove 2 1/2 cups of the soup and puree with a blender until smooth.
  6. Return the puree to the soup pot, along with milk, sugar and additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve warm.
Makes 6 servings.

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