Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Soup for a Sicky

Well, after all my praise about the fall season approaching, the weather that I so love has turned on me. Actually I think it's more of the fact that the weather can't make up its mind about what season it wants to be. A week ago it was a perfect 67 degrees and sunny, 88 and sticky a few days later, then a trip to Wisconsin over the weekend brought a 36 degree overnight low. My sinuses have given up trying to adjust and are now revolting. I have a mutiny going on in my face, and it's not even winter yet.

Feeling like this makes it hard to get motivated to cook anything for dinner, I had trouble bringing myself to make a sandwich last night. Thank god for my productive weekend two weeks ago in which I spent the morning making a huge pot of soup, and stored most of it in the freezer for just such an occasion.

This corn and potato chowder is a perfect soup for a sicky like me. It is comforting, hearty, and creamy, but not super thick, so it doesn't leave you feeling like a big lump if you accidentally eat two giant bowlfuls. If you use corn off the ears like I did, be forewarned that it is a bit of work, cutting the kernels off and milking the cobs takes some time and patience.

In my opinion, it would have been very much worth it had the corn been better quality, unfortunately, it wasn't the greatest. I would make this again before next year's sweet corn season comes around, but will probably take the easy route and go with frozen. If you do use frozen corn, I would recommend taking about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the corn and puree it in a food processor before adding it to the soup, this will simulate the corn pulp that you would have extracted from the cobs.

Corn and Potato Chowder
recipe adapted from Foy Update

10 ears sweet corn
1 large vidalia onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs baby red potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
6 oz pancetta, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 teaspoons minced thyme
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the corn first. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cobs and place in a bowl. Be sure not to cut too close to the cob, you want just the soft crisp nuggets of corn. Then you want to "milk" the corn cobs. This basically means you want to squeeze all the pulp and juice out of the cob, this will help make the soup nice and creamy. I used my microplane to gently grate the cobs of corn over a bowl. After I went over the entire cob with the microplane, I quickly ran the back of my knife down each cob to squish out the rest of the juice. This can get a bit messy, so use a large bowl and wear an apron.

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and saute until most of the fat has rendered off and it is starting to get crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the pancetta and set aside. Reduce heat to low and add the onions and butter. Cover and cook until onions have softened, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Make a roux by sprinkling the flour over the onions and whisk for a minute or two until the flour has heated and is combined with the butter and onions. Slowly whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer.

Add the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, corn pulp/juice, whole milk, and the cooked pancetta. Bring back to a simmer and cook over low heat for about 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are nice and tender. Add the corn, heavy cream and sugar, bring to a simmer again, and cook until corn kernels are tender but still crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Take out the bay leaf and serve topped with the chopped parsley and even some grated parmigiano reggiano.

The winter is coming, along with the colds, flu's, and sinus infections that come with it. I suggest you make this soup right now so you are armed and ready to battle it out.


Jennifer said...

I hear you about the sinuses! Same here. Your photos are absolutely beautiful and the soup is going on to my "make this very soon" list. Thanks!

Amanda said...

Wow, your soup looks so creamy and delicious. I love soup during the fall and winter months. I'll definitely be making this one soon.

Hungry Dog said...

This looks amazing. I am too lazy for this milking thing so would take your suggestion of using frozen corn and pureeing some of it.

I hope you are feeling better!!

Kathryn said...

I love this time of year- it's the perfect soup weather! I recently made tortellini sausage soup, but your soup looks WAY better!

Lisa said...

I love corn chowder though I haven't made it in a long time. Yours looks so colorful and delicious. Not to mention, all your pictures are great.

M. said...

It looks beautiful and comforting.
I love corn but I do agree, it takes a lot of patience to slice it of the cob :)

Bria said...

Thank you everyone!! Still sick here, but the soup is helping, Happy Fall!

Tracy said...

Two heaping bowls, like the lovely you have pictured, would be perfect right about now.

Bria said...

Tracy - I know, it is like 80 degrees in chicago today, so as soon as the temperature goes back down, I am getting the leftovers out of the freezer!!

Janet Marie said...

Gorgeous pictures! I want to make corn chowder this week and I'm checking recipes. Beautiful post!

Bria said...

Thanks Janet! This one is a good one.

Anonymous said...

Love your photo's, I have your recipe simmering on the stove and cannot wait until dinner....Thanks!!

Bria said...

thank you! hope you enjoyed your soup!

Vivian said...

Just found this on pinterest, it looks deliscious! If I use frozen corn how much should I use to equal 10 ears of corn?

Bria said...

Vivian - I found a produce converter online and it says there is about 3/4 cup of corn kernels per ear of corn typically. So if you were to just buy frozen corn, I would aim for 6-8 cups. (8 was the number I got, but that seems like a bit much) if you wanted to use frozen, I would puree some of the corn and add it to the soup to make up for the pulp and milk that you will miss by not using the ears! Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by!

F said...

I have to make this again! Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I forget my own recipes. I like the panchetta for the pork!

Bria said...


thank YOU for the recipe, it is so so good, now that it's getting chilly out I may need to make it again.

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks phenomenal. I've got a friend who would just adore this, I'll have to send it to her!

Poohthebear said...

Making it now and it smells delicious, but when do I add the sugar?

Bria said...

you can add it in with the heavy cream! I will fix the recipe, thanks for that catch, hope you enjoy!

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