Its Zellwood corn season again here in Central Florida and truth be told, we are in corn heaven. No seriously, its that good. You know you love good corn when you show up to the local farmers market and they yell out, "Hey, its the corn guy!"
Over the past couple of weeks, we have paired corn on the cob with everything from meatloaf to fish tacos. This locally grown "triple sweet" offering is outstanding and as the spring season comes to a close, it is time that I took my gourmet kids recipes to the next level.
I've been in the mood for some comfort food lately and nothing screams comfort like a good, homemade chowder. I combed my favorite food blogs for some corn chowder insight and used my clam and seafood chowder experience as a base. I will have to say that the best advice was to grate some of the fresh corn. It created this ultra-rich, fresh-flavored creamy corn base that every other flavor was more than happy to enhance. It also did a great job thickening up the chowder to the perfect consistency. The only thing I would do differently next time is maybe add one or two extra slices of bacon. Glorious bacon...
Zellwood Corn Chowder
10 ears of fresh sweet corn, shucked
4-5 slices thick-cut bacon (applewood smoked or maple)
2 cups cubed (1/2 inch) red bliss potatoes
1 vidalia onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
3 cups water
4 tsp Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base
Cut half the corn off the cob and set aside. Grate the remaining ears using the largest side of your box grater into a flat-bottomed large Tupperware container. Watch those fingers!
Your wrist will cramp, but it will be worth it. Use the back of your knife to remove all the kernels and pulp from each cob.
Over medium heat, crisp up the bacon using a large Dutch oven. Add onion until softened. Create a space in the middle, tilt pot and spoon in a little bacon fat. Press in the garlic - cook until fragrant. Add the flour, stir and cook for an additional two minutes. Inhale.
Slowly add water and milk. Scrape up any browned goodness on the bottom of the pan. Whisk in bouillon. Add potatoes, grated corn, fresh thyme and bay leaves. Slow simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes until potatoes are al dente. Be careful not to bring to a full boil! Click on the word simmer if you need clarification on the difference between simmer and boil.
Mix in the sliced corn kernels and half and half. Continue to simmer for just a few minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add parsley as well as salt (1 1/2 tsp) and pepper (1 tsp) to taste. Serve to your ravenous children. Add an ice cube, if you must. Enjoy!