Friday, July 27, 2012

Sweet corn chowder with chevre and chilli oil

I've had a glut of corn at home lately. After finally making my way through a pile of it at a barbecue (on the cob), and as leftovers (in fish cakes and as a side dish), I thought I was done with corn for a while. Lo and behold, a few days later,  I have received another pile of corn courtesy of my over-zealous-in-the-market mother-in-law. Sigh. What can I do to make this enticing now? Well, the temperature outside has finally dropped down to something that doesn't cause outright suffocation, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's 'cool' outside. Which is close enough to 'cold outside' to warrant soup; something I have not made in quite a while. Corn chowder it is. I did not expect much from my youngest for this dish, but she ate two bowls of the stuff. Small mercies - I till take you. 

Summer Corn Chowder

3 ears of sweet corn, corn cut from the cob
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion
1 medium sized carrot, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
100 ml of dry white wine
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 scallions, chopped finely
2 tbs cream
Olive oil and butter for frying
A few tbs of goat's cheese for cumbling
Chili oil (see note)

Get some oil frizzling in a pot on medium heat and get your onions and carrots going. Once the onions are starting to go translucent (about five minutes), drop in your diced potatoes. Stir this frequently as the starchy potatoes will start to stick to the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, drop in two-thirds of the corn kernels and deglaze with the wine. Let the wine reduce by about half and then add in about liter of boiling water from the kettle it should be enough to come about three inches above the vegetables. Drop in the thyme, the bay leaf, the smoked paprika and season aggressively with salt (because you're using plain water, you really need to season this with assertion). Then let it simmer gently until the potatoes are tender. In the mean time, take the remaining corn and about two-thirds of the chopped scallions and saute them in a separate pan with butter, salt and pepper. They only need to frizzle in the butter for about five or six minutes, then set them aside. When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaves and any sprigs from your thyme and then puree the soup either with a stand blender or an immersion blender. You don't want it to be super smooth - keep some texture in there, so pulsing is your best approach. Once the soup has reached the consistency you like, add the sauteed corn and scallions into the soup and then stir in the cream. Make sure you taste it and season to adjust - this soup likes salt and pepper. To serve, ladle into bowls and crumble over top with goat's cheese and sprinkle with the reserved scallions. For the chilli oil, I simply used the oil that lurks in the jar of my Pugliesi chillies. Just ladle it out with teaspoon, or make your own if you prefer. Accompany the soup with your favourite sandwich or just toast.

A sweet, salty and spicy mid-summer treat.

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