Summer Corn Chowder: By Jen Oliak with Chef, Grace-Marie Johnston

I love this time of year when there is fresh, sweet corn at every grocery store.  It makes me feel like eating al fresco and having a barbecue.  I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been attending a cooking class for the past year at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen-the Cooking School at Bristol Farms.  The class has 25-30 attendees each class, four times per month.  Most of them have been taking Grace-Marie’s classes for decades!

This week we learned how to make the most delicious Summer Corn Chowder. I loved how it was light and fresh.  It had just the right amount of cream to give the broth some richness without tasting too heavy.

Sometimes soup can taste like it has been sitting on the stove too long where the flavors “over blend” and the consistency is mushy.  I loved the fresh crunch of the vegetables and corn in this soup. The cooked corn is added to the chowder at the very end which allows it to retain its crisp texture.

I made this dish twice already! I think you will love it too. Scroll down to the end of the post for the recipe.

I love Grace-Marie’s personality.  She has a very relaxed style and each time I attend her class, I feel like I am visiting with her at her home.

We watch her make the recipes while we follow along on the handouts.  Then we get to enjoy each course after she demonstrates.  Truly, my kind of cooking class! If you live near Manhattan Beach, come join me (sign up through her link)! You can even bring wine and enjoy as you watch her cook.

Grace Marie Bristol Farm Cooking School Manhattan Beach

The key ingredient in this recipe is of course, corn. Fresh corn retains the milk of the corn and the corn cobs which infuses into the chowder- important for depth of flavor.  But if you are rushed for time or corn is not in season, it is fine to use frozen corn. When using fresh corn, Grace Marie likes to slice off the kernels by holding each cob uptight and cutting down on the sides.

Grace Marie Bristol Farms Cooking School Manhattan Beach

She gave a good tip: Place parchment paper on the cutting board so you can simply pick it up after cutting the kernels off and empty into the pot for cooking.

Grace Marie Bristol Farms Cooking School Manhattan Beach

A word about garlic.  Grace-Marie gets her garlic already peeled and in vacuum sealed bags (in the produce section) as shown above.  You can put the garlic in the freezer (for several months) and take out a few minutes before you need it.  The color may change to be more glassy, but the taste will be the same. Or, place the sealed bags in a sealed mason jar and put in your fridge.  It will last more than a month!

I love this time saving tip. And that it will still taste like fresh garlic! I picked some up today at Trader Joe’s.

Recipe

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Summer Corn Chowder

Corn Ingredients

2 tablespoons  Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons Garlic – minced

To Season – Kosher or Sea Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper

4 ears  Corn- remove husks/silk, slice off the kernels & RESERVE the cobs

2 cups Half & Half Cream (substitute with evaporated milk if you want to cut calories)

Instruction for Corn

Combine into a Dutch oven style saucepan (like Le Creuset) and saute over a low-medium flame… the butter, garlic, salt and pepper.

Once the garlic is soft, stir in the corn and cook until lightly golden (5+ minutes). This releases the sugar of the corn for better flavor.

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Add the cream, bring to nearly a simmer then turn off the heat.

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Allow mixture to “steep” and infuse the flavors while the remaining portion of the recipe is prepared.

Chowder Ingredients

2 Tbs Unsalted Butter

8 oz Ham (any favorite Deli-style is fine) – cut into a small dice & loosely back to measure

2  cups Red, Brown or Yellow onions – diced small

1 cup Celery–  cut all the way to the leaves as they have flavor

1 Red, Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper – diced small

1 lb Large Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes – keep peel on and diced small.  To save time – use plain frozen hash browns

To Season –Kosher or Sea Salt, fresh ground Black Pepper & Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 Quart purchased Chicken Stock

Instruction for Chowder

Combine into a SEPARATE Dutch oven style saucepan and saute over a low-medium flame… the butter, ham, onion, celery, pepper, potatoes, salt, ground pepper and red pepper flakes until the vegetables are lightly tender (5+ minutes).

Add the stock and corn corn cobs (to get out the remaining corn milk).

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The liquid should cover the vegetable by at least 2″ in depth.  If not, add some water.

Bring the chowder nearly to a boil then reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (15-20 minutes).

Just before serving, remove the corn cobs then add the corm and cream mixture.

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Continue to simmer until warmed through.

Serve

Garnish with Green Onions – thinly slice or snip with scissors.  For a kick, add some tabasco!

Tip: If desired, remove a few cups of the chowder and puree in a blender to achieve a creamier-thicker chowder!

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This dish is hearty and can be served as a meal. Will you try it? I plan to make it paired with Grace-Marie’s Summer Garden Zucchini Salad.  That recipe will be posted on my blog soon!  Enjoy this summer corn chowder.  Thanks, Grace-Marie!consoup2

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.