Thursday, October 27, 2011

Last of the farm stand fare...(sniff).

One day recently, I came into my office at work to find a bag with a half dozen ears of sweet corn and a copy of a recipe for smoked corn chowder on my desk. The gift was from my friend and colleague in computer science (and amazing cook!), Chris Ford. He lives near Rulf's farm stand in Peru (they have the best corn in the area), and he has been known to smoke up a storm on his Weber kettle grill. This is one of his favorite recipes for when corn is still in season but when the weather has started to turn a little chilly.

It is truly an AMAZING thing that we still have sweet corn being harvested (there are some perks to global climate change), but it is too cold to stand on the porch and grill stuff, IMHO. So I converted this recipe to begin in the oven and end in the crock pot, and it turned out GREAT! Furthermore, I see no reason why you couldn't roast up some frozen kernels in the off-season. Give that a try if corn is done in your area.

Roasted Corn Chowder
(Source: adapted from Weber's Art of the Grill)

6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
2 red bell peppers
1/2 lb. smoky bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch dice
1 bay leaf
bunch of thyme, bundled with twine
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to broil at 500 degrees. On a sheet pan lined with foil, place the six ears of corn and two red peppers, and drizzle all the veggies with olive oil. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning every five minutes or so. Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin, seeds and ribs from the peppers, coarsely chop, then reserve. Cut the kernels from the corn, scraping the cobs, then refrigerate the roasted corn until needed later.

Place a large saute pan or Dutch oven on medium heat. Cook the bacon and onion, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crispy and onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, and cook for about one minute, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to medium high. Gradually add the chicken stock, whisking to prevent the flour from forming lumps. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, whisking constantly.

Add the bacon, onion, and broth mixture to a crock pot, then add the reserved chopped roasted red peppers, the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme bundle, granulated garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until the potatoes are tender. Remove and discard bay leaf and thyme bundle. Add the half-and-half and parsley and reserved roasted corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Not that this fabulous chowder needs much in the way of an accompaniment, but as I have shared many times before, I have a roommate who believe that soup is not a proper meal in and of itself. Thus, I've invented what could be the word's BEST sandwich!

You start with Panera's three-cheese demi-loaf, sliced, buttered, and toasted under the broiler. Then brush with persillade (parsley and garlic sauce--because my parsley is still growing like CRAZY--or pesto would be good, too), top with blue cheese, thin slices of fresh apple, sliced chicken breast (from your favorite deli chicken), and swiss cheese. Pop back under the broiler to melt the cheese, then devour! YUM!!

Oh, and on top of Cyd's sandwich, I added slices of what is, no doubt, the last of the local tomatoes. Boo hiss. We wait all year for the harvest, and it's all over so quickly, non?


Cozy in Texas said...

I stopped by your blog today.

Mary Lou said...

Wow, I'm just going to move next door to you! I'm drooling.