Corn showed up in the CSA panier a couple of weeks ago. I was excited and wary. Excited because yay, corn! Wary because the few ears of cob corn I’ve had in France have been unpalatably starchy. So before even tasting it I devised a plan. Corn chowder. That way I could extract the flavor from the cobs, while the chopped, cooked kernels would have less of a chance to be offensive when combined in a creamy soup with bacon and potatoes. (How do you make anything taste good? Bacon and potatoes.)
Fortunately, when I cut the corn kernels from the cob and tasted one, I was rewarded with the crisp crunch of sweet corn. Hooray! No animal feed for us tonight! I reserved the kernels for later and put the halved cobs in a pot with a little cream (okay, a lot of cream), a bay leaf, and a few sprigs of thyme harvested from my windowbox garden. I brought it up to a simmer, then covered it and lowered the heat so the cobs and herbs could really infuse the cream with their flavors.
As we all know, a good chowder always starts with bacon. Potatoes are another must-have. Keeping it simple, I rendered some lardons while dicing potatoes, then threw the potatoes on top of the bacon and tossed to coat the cubes of potato in bacon fat. I cooked them like that for a few minutes, then added a little white wine and water to cover. Salt, pepper, and 10 minutes of simmering later, the potatoes were tender and tasty. Time to strain the corned cream into the pot and add the reserved corn kernels. Back up to a simmer for another couple of minutes to heat the corn through, and dinner was good to go.
Simple, classic, and great for those first few chilly nights of the changing season.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.