Bacon Corn Chowder
When the first local corn arrives at the farmers market, it's chowder time.
To contrast with the sweet corn, I picked up a mess of salty bacon ends from the Getaway Farms butcher shop. I used a mix of sweet potato and Yukon Gold potatoes in this chowder, and the results were amazing. Just before serving, add a drizzle of homemade chili oil for a touch of heat, and a generous spoonful of garlic scape pesto. Scapes are in season right now so I'm using them in almost everything. The mild garlic flavour is a nice addition to the rich creamy broth.
To make the garlic scape pesto, you will need:
- 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor fitted with the the steel blade, and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Voila!
The pesto will keep in the fridge for about a week, it also freezes well.
For the chowder, gather together the following ingredients:
- 4 ears corn
- 300 grams bacon ends
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1 small Yukon Gold potato
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup 18% cream
Shuck the corn and remove all of the silk. To cut the kernels from the cob, I employ the paring knife and bowl maneuver. This allows me to collect all the precious corn milk, and nicely contains the kernels. Those little buggers just love to fly around the kitchen otherwise. All you need is a sharp paring knife and a big bowl. Rest the ear of corn in the bowl with the fat end down, grip the ear from the top and run your knife down the length of the corn toward the bottom of the bowl, slicing off the kernels into the bowl. Rotate, and repeat until you have worked your way all around the corn. Then, flip the cob over with the narrow end down, and run the blade of the knife down the cob to extract the remaining milk from the corn. This second pass of the blade will produce a surprising amount of milky corn juice. This sweet nectar will add even more corn flavour to the broth.
Prep the rest of your ingredients: cut the bacon into lardon (just a fancy word for small slices), peel and cube the potatoes, and finely mince the onion. Over medium heat, cook the bacon for a couple of minutes, until some fat has been rendered. Add the yellow onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the bacon is crisp and the onion is just starting to caramelize. Add the stock and the water, and raise the the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Add the potatoes and cook, uncovered for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. The liquid will reduce, and the potatoes will give off some starch which will help thicken the broth. Reduce the heat to medium/low and stir in the cream. Finally, add the corn and all of the juice that's collected in your bowl and gently cook for another 4-5 minutes.
The chowder is ready to eat, serve it with some crusty bread for a simple lunch.