helping chris cook: corn chowder

unfortunately i missed last week's installment of "helping chris cook" due to visitors. i didn't want to make my niece and nephew wait for dinner while i catalogued every step of a meal.

i think this one is worth the wait though. tonight i made corn chowder out of gwyneth paltrow's new[ish] cookbook. it was quite delicious.

corn chowder

[1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter]
2 slices turkey bacon, finely diced [if you use regular bacon, don't use the butter]
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely diced
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
kernels from 6 fresh ears of corn, cobs reserved
1/2 tsp coarse salt [i like sea salt]
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c vegetable stock
1 c milk
1 tbsp minced fresh chives, for garnish [optional]
1 tbsp minced fresh tarragon, for garnish [optional]

1. gather ingredients and chop the shallots, onions, and bacon. husk the corn, and remove the kernels using a sharp knife. [or find a tool which removes the kernels -- a knife works just as well]

2. melt the butter [if using] in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes, or until bacon begins to brown.

3. add the shallots, onion, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. add the corn kernels, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute, stirring everything together.

5. add the stock, milk, and corn cobs. heat up and bring the soup to a boil.

6. once boiling lower the heat and simmer until the corn is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

7. remove the cobs, puree a ladleful of soup in the blender, and return it to the pot. OR use an immersion blender in the pot - just don't smooth it out completely. leave some texture.

8. season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkling each portion with the chives and tarragon.

we had ours with rolls on the side for a light dinner. if you want more try adding a salad or a sandwich alongside your soup.

sweet corn really makes the difference with this. i just bought the cookbook a couple of weeks ago, and this was my first opportunity to use it. with as good as this meal was, i'm pretty certain it was worth the money.

i hope you enjoy it too!


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