CORN CHOWDER (for eight)
8 ears fresh corn, shucked
8 strips bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
6 cups milk
3 medium new potatoes (about 1-½ pounds) peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish
- Working over a large bowl, slice the corn kernels off the cob, scraping the cob with the knife to extract the flavorful juices. Halve five of the bare corn cobs crosswise, discarding the rest. Set corn and cobs aside.
- Heat the bacon in a 6 quart pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon for garnish, leaving the remaining bacon in the pot. Add butter, thyme, garlic, celery, onions and bay leaf. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add the reserved corn kernels and cobs, milk and potatoes. Cover, bring chowder to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Skim off any foam from the surface of the soup. Discard the cobs and bay leaf; transfer 1-½ cups of soup to a blender and puree. Stir puree into the chowder to thicken it. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with the reserved bacon and basil.
adapted from Saveur Magazine, no.122