Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chipotle Corn Chowder

While most of the northern hemisphere is still praying for spring to arrive soon (very soon if you're still seeing white!) all of those smug cooks who froze sweet corn last summer can make this delicious chowder and pretend they have fast forwarded to the end of August!

In preparation for moving house I took a hard look at my freezer hoard to see how I could thin its ranks. Frozen sweet corn plus homemade corn stock made this soup an easy choice. While I grew up on New England Style chowders, heavy with cream and savory herbs, I decided to honor my new home - Santa Monica - and added some chipotle creaminess instead. Delicious!

If you don't have homemade corn stock in the freezer a light vegetable stock works just as well. And don't fret if you are not the over eager DIYer like myself; most grocery stores carry chipotle in adobo sauce. Use at your discretion, they are super spicy, kicking in at the end of the taste!

Corn Chowder with Chipotle Cream
(serves 4)

1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fennel, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups (1 quart) corn or vegetable stock (make corn stock by boiling corn cobs in water for 30 minutes)
2 cups water
1 large red potato, washed and diced (2 cups)
2 cups fresh (or fresh frozen) corn
3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
5 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon chipotle adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon honey (optional)

In medium sauce pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add fennel and cook another 2 minutes. Add celery, white scallion parts, and pinch of salt and cook another 2 minutes until all vegetables are sweating. Add stock and bring to boil. Add potatoes and water and boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Add corn and return to boil. Remove soup from heat and stir in red bell pepper and green scallion parts, reserving a few of each of garnish if desired. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes. Remove 1 cup of vegetables and set aside. Puree remaining soup in batches in blender or with an immersion blender. Return vegetables to soup. In separate small bowl, combine yogurt, chipotle adobo sauce and honey and blend well. The cream is strong stuff so be careful! Swirl a tablespoon of chipotle cream into each individual bowl and garnish with red bell pepper and green scallion parts.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Nicoise Beef Braised in White Wine at Thyme for Cooking
Tagliatelle with Pancetta and Parsnips at Food Hunter's Guide to Cooking
Herbed Asparagus Soup at Chez Cayenne

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