The Accidental Locavore can’t think of a cozier place to be on a snowy January day, then in the kitchen. Rather than shovel snow, or worse, get stuck watching football, the Locavore thought it was time for corn soup. This recipe, adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain cookbook, has intrigued me since this summer, and because of it, there were a dozen corn cobs and a large bag of frozen kernels in my freezer. It would serve about 4 big bowls and took about 1 1/2 hours, mostly unattended.
For the stock:
- 12 ears of corn, shucked
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
For the chowder:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2-3 slices, bacon (optional), sliced into 1/4″ strips
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup crème frâiche or sour cream
- Salt, pepper and sugar, to taste
Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the corn. Cut the cobs in half and put in a large stock pot. Put the kernels on a baking sheet. Add to the stockpot: the bay leaf, onion and 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and cook until it’s reduced to about 5 cups of liquid.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the corn kernels, garlic and bacon on the baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring once or twice until slightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Remove the garlic from the corn and bacon mix. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook while stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the alcohol is evaporated. Add the corn kernels and bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 30 minutes.
If you like your soup really smooth, purée it in a blender (and if you like it really smooth, strain it after blending it). If, like the Locavore, you prefer it a little chunky, remove about 1/4 cup of the kernels and some of the bacon and set aside. Purée the remaining soup in a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender until you reach the desired texture.
Stir in the crème frâiche or sour cream, the kernels and bacon you set aside. Taste and add salt, pepper and sugar as needed. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: this was really good, maybe not as good as the corn and potato chowder I usually make, but a good variation. Bobby Flay’s original recipe has you add sugar in before blending and that made it too sweet. The Locavore likes using the cobs to make stock and next summer, will just collect them and toss them in the freezer for future soups. Since I was using frozen cobs and kernels, everything took longer, but the end result was delicious! I also tossed in a little jalapeño Tabasco sauce to give it a little kick.
Frank’s verdict: really good. He would have liked a little more texture, which was easily remedied by adding in some more kernels.