This is a thick, hearty chowder. Meaning it's thickened with flour and cream. If you want to lighten it up you could sub half and half or milk for the cream and use a more waist-friendly thickener like arrowroot. It doesn't take too long to make, freezes and reheats really well, and basically tastes like grilled summer in a bowl.
If you decide to grill the corn. Shuck the corn so that only 1 layer of husk remains to protect the kernels from blackening too much. Then soak the corn in the sink for a few minutes before putting them on the grill. I like to put them on the cooler outer edge of the grill, so they take longer to cook and absorb more of the smoky flavor. For the wood chips, we've used hickory and mesquite successfully, but anything would probably be good.
There are lots of ways to test whether the corn is done. Being a visual person, I judge by color. Corn turns a slightly more golden version of it's original color when it's cooked. The husk should also be pretty brown and wilted and charred around the edge if you cook them low and slow. I prefer a couple of blackened spots to half raw corn.
Since I am enormous klutz, I stink at cutting corn off the cob. When I try, it ends badly. I curse like a sailor and corn ends up on the ceiling. I usually call in my husband to do the dirty work and he claims all it takes is a very sharp a knife and a stable cutting surface.
There's really not too many ingredients to this recipe either: a few pantry staples, corn, onion, potato, and fresh thyme and you're ready to go.
Smoked Corn Chowder
Slightly adapted from this recipe by Tyler Florence via foodnetwork.com
Cooking Time: Approx. 55 minutes (excluding smoking the corn)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup flour
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
- 6 ears corn, smoked on the grill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
1. Ahead of time, smoke the corn as described above or just use raw ears. Using a sharp knife cut off the whole kernels and set kernels aside.
2. In a large pot, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and saute about 5 to 10 minutes until the onions are softened.
3. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute.
4. Add the flour and stir to combine.
5. Add the vegetable stock, cream, and potatoes and bring to a hard boil. Boil for 7 minutes. (This step helps break down the potatoes so they'll give the soup a good texture.)
6. Reduce the heat to a simmer. At this point, you can fish out the sprigs of thyme with a pair of tongs. The boiling will have removed most of the leaves and you can scrape off any leaves still clinging to the stem into the soup.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the corn kernels. Simmer for 10-12 minutes if using raw corn and a few minutes less if using smoked.
8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.