In the Northeast, fresh corn is everywhere this time of year. Boiled, grilled, steamed, or baked, there is nothing quite as good as the moist pop of sweet corn, maybe coated with a bit of butter and salt. Yum. But if you get sick of eating it off the cob, another delicious way to cook it is to turn it into chowder. I take an everything-but-the-kitchen's-sink approach, throwing in whatever vegetables I've got taking up precious space in the crisper drawer or pantry. Anything from zucchini to spinach works--even tossing in some shrimp or shredded chicken is good--but the basic recipe as follows doesn't need anything to be amazing comfort food, and since I use only a splash of light cream, it's surprisingly healthy.
Dice the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper, and mince the garlic cloves. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and diced vegetables, along with the sugar, bay leaves, and a heavy pinch of salt.
Cook over medium to low heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes (small) and cut the corn off the cob. Once the vegetables are completely softened, turn heat to high and add stock.
Add potatoes, corn, creamed corn, thyme, sage, and ground red pepper.
Stir thoroughly and cover. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for forty minutes. Turn off heat, stir in light cream, and remove bay leaves. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm with bread or oyster crackers.
-e. magill 8/24/2012
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