Make corn chowder!

In anticipation for our Fourth of July party, we grabbed a bunch of corn on the cob- for cheap. Our local super market was having a verrry good sale. Too good to turn down buying 10 ears of corn. We bought it up, brought it home, and husked it out. Then we had our party and completely forgot to grill it up. So we were left with 10 ears of corn.

I don’t particularly care for corn in general, especially in corn on the cob form, so I knew I had to find something completely different to do with it. Lucky for me, in the July issue of Real Simple magazine, there is a great section on bringing Farmer’s Market finds to your table. The article features small-town farmers from across the country and discusses the produce that they grow and their favorite recipes in which to use them.

I found a great recipe for a corn chowder from farmers Chris, Bob, and Mike Munson from Munson Farms in Boulder, CO.

Joan’s Sweet White Corn Soup with Poblano Puree
From Real Simple Magazine, July 2010

1 poblano pepper
2 and 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
5 cups fresh white corn kernels – from about 10 ears (ha! luck!)
kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
cilantro leaves, for serving

Heat broiler. On a broilerproof baking sheet, broil the pepper, turning occasionally, until charred, 8 to 12 minutes. Wrap in a paper towel; let cool for 10 minutes. Use the the paper towel to slide off the skin. Remove the seeds.

In a blender, puree the pepper with 2 tablespoons of the chicken broth;  transfer to a bowl. Rinse out the blender.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (do not let it brown), 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the corn, the remaining 2 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth, 2/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the corn is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

In the blender, working in batches, puree the soup until smooth, adjusting the consistency with water as necessary. (Alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender in the pot.)

Serve the soup with a drizzle of the cream and the poblano puree, sprinkle with cilantro.

This simple dish was ready in about a half hour. The most involved parts were cutting the corn off of the cob- which I’ve never done before, but is really fun! Then, pureeing the corn mixture in the food processor was a little involved to do in batches. Instead of pureeing all of the corn, I left about 1/4 of it and mixed it in with the  puree.  This gave it a little bit of texture. I topped the soup with scallions instead of cilantro because we had a bunch on hand from the CSA.

This dish is totally vegetarian and can easily be adapted for vegans. My sister recently became vegan and is always in search of easy vegan recipes. To make this dairy free, simply choose a different fat to sauté the onions, such as oil or cooking spray. Earth balance is also a great option.  Simply omit the heavy cream at the end, it’s definitely not necessary. Instead, top it off with crispy nacho chips and a slight sprinkle of chili pepper.

Although this soup is totally enough for a main course, we teamed it up with an awesome taco dip that my friend Natalie has become notorious for bringing to parties and impressing the heck out of everyone with. Later in the week, we paired it with a Barefoot Contessa recipe of Tequila Lime chicken.

Check it out below:

Natalie was kind enough to share her taco dip recipe with me. I’m still not sure where she found it, but it’s a definite hit every time. It’s easy to make, and really versatile.

Nat’s Taco Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded iceberg lettuce or green of your choosing
shredded cheese such as cheddar or jack

Mix together taco seasoning, cream cheese and sour cream. Spread cream
cheese mixture in the bottom of a pie pan. Then create a layer of
lettuce, a layer of tomato and lastly, shredded cheese. Enjoy with
tortilla chips!

Natalie said that you can also add layers of red or green peppers, jalapeños, scallions, or black olives. Feel free to experiment and switch it up.

For leftovers later in the week, we had the soup as a side dish with Tequila Lime Chicken on the grill from a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  I used silver tequila because I had it on hand and omitted the jalapeños because I forgot to buy them! It was very strong and flavorful. Really great for a wonderful Saturday night dinner in the summertime.