Savoring the Seasons: Sweet corn makes for great chowder, BLT side

For The Recorder
Published: 7/25/2017 9:13:13 AM

My long-time friends and outdoor trip buddies, Karen Warren and Sue Tippett, live in Pelham. We don’t get together as often as we’d like, but when we do, we always eat well. Karen’s a superb cook and Sue grows a bountiful garden full of fruit and vegetables.

Recently, I went to visit Karen and Sue and took along the fixing for BLTs for dinner. I brought Bostrom Farm’s amazing shoulder butt bacon (I get it at their booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market on Saturday mornings), local tomatoes from Baker’s Country Store in Conway (Helen Baker had tomatoes from Fairview Farms in Whately), and Our Daily Bread’s marvelous gluten-free bread from the Hudson River Valley. Karen’s partner, Sue, had plenty of lettuce from her own garden.

I stopped at Millstone Market in Sunderland to pick up some fresh Warner’s Farm corn to go with the BLTs. As I stood looking at all the ears of corn in the bin and the hand-lettered sign with prices, I wondered how many ears to get. I wasn’t sure if Karen and Sue’s daughters would be there. I thought, I’ll want several ears and we can always find something to do with leftover corn.

After I arrived with a dozen ears of corn, Karen said, “Oh, I’ll just have one ear of corn.” Then, after we tasted the incredibly sweet, flavorful, delicate corn, she ate another one (and perhaps another?). After we exclaimed about how sweet it was, Karen said, “I can put the corn cobs in the freezer in my ‘stock bag’ and use the leftover corn to make some corn chowder.”

Of course, I asked for her recipe.

Karen said, “It all starts with making good stock.”

This week we’re eating ...

Corn Chowder (Vegan/Dairy-Free): by Karen Warren, Pelham

I’ve been making a lot of soup lately to stock the freezers of my young professional children who use it as a work lunch at or quick dinner. It’s corn season, so I’ve been making corn chowder with leftover corn. Cook up that whole dozen ears and whatever isn’t eaten becomes soup.

The most important thing to making a good soup is the stock. I save vegetable trimmings when I prep for meals and keep a storage bag in the freezer to pop them in. Onion skins, carrots trimmings, celery tops, scallion or leek trimmings, pepper tops, corn cobs, mushroom stems are all tossed in the bag. When I have a full bag, it’s time to make soup. In a large stockpot, boil the trimmings with lots of water until they are soft. I start it first and by the time I’m done cutting vegetables for the soup, the stock is done.

Strain off the liquid, compost the cooked vegetables, and you have some lovely soup stock. Freeze extra stock for the next soup.

Ingredients:

2 T. coconut or canola oil

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

4 fist-sized Yukon gold or red potatoes, cubed

Corn kernels cut from 4 cobs

1 14-oz can of coconut milk

2-4 C. vegetable stock

1 tsp. thyme

2 tsp. smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, and celery, and sauté until onions are sweated. Add the thyme and cook until it releases its flavor. Add the carrots, potatoes, and corn kernels. Pour in enough vegetable stock to cover vegetables then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to let soup simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Blend about a third of the mixture until creamy and return it to the soup pot. Add coconut milk and paprika and bring the heat back up. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book
indexer. Send column
suggestions and recipes to:
mmcclinto@yahoo.com.


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