Soups and stews are definitely a comfort food for me. I normally reserve them for the fall and winter seasons…but not this one! If food could taste like a season, this would taste like summer. It uses fresh corn on the cob. Here in Michigan the corn season is still in full swing. Lucky for us we live less than 3 miles from a farm which grows corn [along with many other veggies] which they sell to the public. Yeah for us! I discovered a variation of this chowder about 4 years ago, and it has become an end of summer staple. I love it mainly for the fact that it uses pureed corn as a thickener, hence, no cream! That takes out a great deal of calories – bonus points! I’ll choose to ignore the fact that there is bacon [and bacon fat] in the recipe! Okay, it’s not perfect, but it is darn good. I’ll make this at least two more times before the corn season is over and stow it away in the freezer. It freezes beautifully [no cream to curdle it]. And come December or January or February…there’s nothing like a taste of summer to get through the rest of winter.
Grilled Corn & Potato ChowderIngredients: •8 ears husked corn: 4 ears left whole 4 ears, kernels cut off and the cobs scraped to release milk/juice [Note: After the kernels are cut from the cobs, run the back of a knife, applying slight pressure, down the cob to “milk it” or remove the juices.] •1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced 1/2-3/4″ thick
•4 Nardello peppers, stemmed and seeded [or substitute 1 red sweet bell pepper]
•10 red-skinned potatoes [about 1 1/2″ in diameter], halved
•1½ Tablespoons olive oil
•Salt and black pepper, to taste •Cayenne Pepper, to taste
•6 slices bacon, chopped in 1/2″ pieces
•1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
•32 ounces chicken broth Directions: •Brush the 4 [whole] ears of corn, onion, red pepper and potatoes halves with olive oil; salt and pepper to taste. •Heat gas grill, igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes, or build a hot charcoal fire. Place vegetables on the lightly oiled hot grate. Place potatoes cut-side down. Cook until spotty brown, about 10 minutes for the potatoes [no need to turn] and about 15 minutes [turning once] for the corn, onions and pepper. Remove vegetables from grill; set aside until cool enough to handle. •Puree the cut and scraped corn in a blender; you should have about 2-2 1/2 cups. •Chop the cooled potatoes, peppers and onions into bite-sized pieces and remove corn from cobs. •Fry the chopped bacon in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the thyme leaves and the corn puree; cook until it begins to bubble. •Add chicken broth and bring to a boil; add the chopped vegetables and grilled corn kernels; sprinkle cayenne pepper to desired “heat level”. •Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until flavors blend, 15-25 minutes. Add water if necessary to desired thickness. Ladle into bowls and serve.