Corn Chowder or How to Enjoy Corn-off-the-Cob
When you love corn but hate corn-on-the-cob, it’s time to get creative.
Here is my dirty little secret. Well…one of them, anyway. I loathe corn-on-the-cob
Which is super inconvenient, really, because most fresh corn seasons find me in the heart of New England where it really is as high as an elephant’s eye. And corn is a thing. God, how it is a thing here in New England!
There is the lengthy discussion over which pay-what-you-like-in-the-coffee-tin farm stand has the best corn. There is the endless debate about how to fix it, solved for me by my good friend Skippy, who taught me that wrapping it in foil with butter and a ton of salt and roasting it is hands-down the best way. There are the cutesy little corn-on-the-cob skewers that everyone gives everyone else as houseguest presents, which always — always — go down either the disposal or the main drain of the dishwasher by mistake. And then there is the fact that although everyone professes to adore corn-on-the-cob, those same everyones are somehow never ever around when it is time to shuck, which inevitably involves those incredibly elusive little slippery strands.
But I do love corn. Go figure. I love corn ice cream (all the rage last year), I love polenta, which is basically corn, I’m borderline obsessive about my cast iron skillet cornbread, and I love corn relish and salsa. So what I don’t love is the mess involved in eating of corn-on-the-co. If I’m honest, I feel the same way about lobster — only ever really enjoyable in my oldest T-shirt on a porch with a table lined with yesterday’s newspaper.
Corn, apples, and tomatoes are the troika of autumn in New England. Raging tomato snob that I am, I spend much of late August and September dining on all manner of tomato dishes. In New England, I’m lucky enough to live down the road from a beautiful pick-your-own-apple orchard, which doubles as a sculpture garden. But finding a way to enjoy corn off the cob proved elusive until I created this recipe for creamy corn chowder.
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It began far away from New England. After one of our legendary grilling nights in Moscow, I ended up with a ton of extra roasted ears of corn in foil. Poking around in the fridge, I found potatoes and carrots and some bacon ends, and this chowder was born. Over the years, I’ve refined and honed it, and it has become a firm fixture in our optimistic early autumn line up.
This soup can easily be tweaked to vegetarian and even vegan if you omit the bacon and/or the cream (substitute coconut milk for the latter). It freezes well, so while they are paying you to take the corn away from the farm stand, go ahead and indulge in a lovely vat of this creamy, corny soup!
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Photo: Jennifer Eremeeva
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Thank you for visiting and enjoying another delicious food post! If you make this recipe and post to Instagram, use the hashtag #cookingwithjennifer so I’ll be sure to see it !
Thank you for visiting and enjoying another delicious food post! Do you hate corn-on-the-cob? If you make this recipe and post to Instagram, use the hashtag #cookingwithjennifer so I’ll be sure to see it !
This is an original recipe.
Photos by Jennifer Eremeeva.
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Exploring food markets, developing recipes, and just eating was once my hobby, but now it is a full-time job. I write about food markets around the world, develop recipes, and study culinary history and emerging trends. I have a particular interest in Russian and Eastern European cuisine and culinary history.
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