Even in my childhood, the scent of summer corn permeated holiday memories.
My cousin and I would run around someone’s corn fields – we treated them as communal – and the greenest taste of unripened corn is still filed away in my mind under “carefree summer vacation.”
Summer is rolling to a close and with it, sadly, is some of the freshest, sweetest corn in this part of the country.
By popular demand, here is the recipe for my current favorite version of spicy corn chowder.
It’s complex and substantial enough to see you through the end of September.
Spicy corn chowder
- 4 ears fresh corn
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh celery
- 3-4 young potatoes, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 leeks (only the white part), diced
- white wine
- olive oil
- 1 T butter
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 t allspice
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 t red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spice)
- fresh cilantro (garnish)
1. If possible, grill or roast the corn to impart that flavor into the soup. Once cooked, take the corn off the cobs and set aside – keep the husks!
2. Bring 3 1/2 cups water, with the corn husks and 2 bay leaves added, to a boil.
In the meantime, in a large pan, sauté the pepper, onions, celery, carrots, and leeks in olive oil and a little bit of butter. At the very end, add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, then add the garlic and potatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
3. Take the husks out of the water (squeeze them out, if you can). Add corn and the sautéed vegetable mix. Add in all of the remaining dried seasonings and bring back up to boil.
4. Taste for salt and add salt and pepper – and maybe a few more red pepper flakes. Add in half and half and heat through. The soup should still be fairly thick though you can adjust this to your preference.
Serve topped with fresh cilantro.