Local corn is filling farm stands and grocery stores right now. Tinky Weisblat brings us this classic recipe for hearty corn chowder.
New England Corn Chowder
Difficulty Level: Moderately Easy
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
5 thick pieces of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (preferably not yellow; I used orange!), finely chopped
1 pound very tiny potatoes, cut into quarters
3 cups corn kernels
2 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk and/or cream
In a Dutch oven brown the bacon pieces to release their fat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces. Drain and save them.
Quickly sauté the onion in the bacon fat, followed by the pepper. Add the potatoes to the pan, and toss them to coat them very lightly in any remaining bacon fat.
Add the corn, liquid, and salt and pepper. (Don’t salt too heavily; remember, the bacon fat is salty. You can always add more salt at the end if you need it.)
Bring the chowder to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 1/2 hour.
If you have time, allow the chowder to come to room temperature and then chill it. This way the fat will rise to the top and you can remove most of it. (The soup is quite filling without that additional fat.)
Puree about a third of the soup in a blender or food processor in order to make the consistency more uniform. The soup needs a few pieces of potato and some corn kernels to seem like chowder so don’t overdo the puree-fication.
Stir in the milk and/or cream and adjust the seasonings. Heat the soup through but do not return it to the boil. Garnish with the pieces of bacon.