Summer Country, Corn, and Chowder

My school bus route this summer takes me out to the country. I spend close to three hours a day riding past farms and corn fields which gives me more than enough time for reflection. I’m a semi-city girl and my experiences with home-grown corn came from my grandfather’s and then my Uncle Andy’s gardens. Still, the country holds a certain charm for me. Now that I’ve comfortably adopted the suburbs as home, I experience the accidental proximity of country with an isolated field or preserved farm in the middle of a subdivision.DIGITAL CAMERA

Suburban living makes it easy to forget how amazing farmland is. But what i’m seeing everyday is the real deal. Sky beautifully blue that seems to go on forever. Clouds in that sky that look like cotton batting soft enough to curl up in for a nap. Farms large and small, old and older, and seemingly endless fields of corn. file8191293943525The Midwest is corn country and this part of Illinois has some of the best farmland in the state. Granted, much of our corn is the feed/seed variety. (This blog post  explains the difference.) Even so, there is plenty of the eating kind around, or there will be soon.

Corn season is in full swing here. The stalks have more than reached the requisite “knee high by the Fourth of July” and as I look out the bus window, I think they’re growing taller everyday.DIGITAL CAMERALocal corn won’t be making an appearance for a few more weeks, but as the stalks wave in the breeze, anticipation is high. The corn available is inching closer, much of what is in the stores and even at farm stands is coming from Georgia. It’s sweet and juicy and is wonderful eaten off the cob, but it’s also great used in a recipe. DIGITAL CAMERADIGITAL CAMERAI made a Summer Corn Chowder that used the corn, cobs and all.DIGITAL CAMERA I cut the kernels off the cobs, then the naked cobs went into a soup pot with water, some onion and a pinch of salt. I let it simmer for  about an hour and let it steep for an hour more. The result was golden sweetness that was bursting with corn flavor.

This chowder featured a variety of peppers,and onions and course there was lots of fresh corn. Colored peppers make it look extra festive and sweet and green onion give it lots of flavor. This is your chowder, so choose what you like.DIGITAL CAMERATo make it more “chowder like” I added some bacon and grated potato. My herb of choice was thyme and a bit of ancho chili powder gave it a little heat. To keep it healthier I used fat free half and half.DIGITAL CAMERAThe result was a lighter bodied chowder that was thick with vegetables. Sharp white cheddar cheese and crisp bacon were the crowning glory. It was the perfect dish for a summer supper.DIGITAL CAMERA

This recipe will only get better as the corn grows closer to home. It also lends itself to all kinds of variations. Make it spicier or tame it down to suit your taste.

Summer Corn Chowder
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Summer Corn Chowder
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Corn Broth
Chowder
Servings:
Instructions
Corn Broth
  1. Put the bare corn cobs and chopped onion in a soup pot. Add 5 cups water (or enough to cover) and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 1 hour. Turn off heat and allow to steep covered for another hour. Remove the cobs and onions and use in soup.
Chowder
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon, let it drain on paper towels and reserve. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pot.
  2. Add the onions, celery, jalapeno, and peppers to the pot and cook about 5 minutes stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Add the corn kernels and cook another 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Add the half and half and corn broth to the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add the shredded potatoes, green onions and thyme. cook 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender and everything is happy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved bacon and grated cheddar.
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Fresh corn is one of the joys of summer. Eaten off the cob or in a soup or side dish, it is meant to be savoured for as long as the season lasts. Enjoy, Mama D

8 thoughts on “Summer Country, Corn, and Chowder

  1. Barbara Bartels

    This Sound’s so yummy. ..My mom use to make corn chowder and it is one of my favorite comfort food. Thanks ♡

    Reply
  2. Barbara Bartels

    Hi there, I made some sweet corn broth with the cobs left over from last nights dinner. We had Barbecued the corn and I wasn’t sure how much favor it would infuse into the broth. I started with my homemade vegetable broth, added the 2 large corn cobs and a little extra thyme. I simmered this for 45 minutes and steeped it for a hour. I was pleasantly pleased at the wonderful sweet corn favor the broth had. I plan to use the broth in my mothers corn chowder recipe later this week when my Dad comes to visit. Thanks

    Reply
  3. Ann @ Dinner Is Served

    Best time of the summer is when the sweet corn comes in at the farm near our place in Wisconsin. I’ve cooked it every which way but haven’t made a chowder in quite a while. Yours looks delish!

    Reply

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