We've hit the point in summer where I feel a mixture of amazement at how fast it's gone mixed in with a longing for fall and the realization that it will still feel like summer until October.
So, with that, I've made soup. A soup filled with the vegetables of summer, the creaminess of fall and topped with bacon and croutons just because they add a nice flavor and texture. It's filled with summer produce but with an ode of fall to come.
Besides peaches, fresh, summer corn is one of my favorite summer produce items. If I remember and the timing is right, my trick is to go to the farmer's market right as the corn vendor is packing up as they are generally very eager to get rid of their ears of corn.
Discounted corn or not, cutting it fresh off the cob makes this soup 10x better than if made with frozen corn. It's worth it to take the time to husk the corn and cut it off the cob. Fresh corn is extra juicy and their cobs add a nice flavor to the broth.
Husking corn brings back memories of when my mom or Popo would shoo Kristen and I outside in the summer heat where we would lovingly remove each layer of the husk one by one and finally all the silken hairs we could. Then, it was my duty to snap them in half because I was more often than not, the strongest in the kitchen. Sometimes it would be a clean break and other times, I would get a nasty eyeful of corn juice.
I find it easiest to cut corn off the cob if you lay it flat on your cutting board and rotate it continually on it's side until all of the corn is removed. I've tried all other methods of cutting it like on top of a bowl within a bowl or in a bundt pan but I've found that this is the simplest and most clean method out there.
Once you get the most intensive part of husking the corn and chopping the rest of the vegetables over with (PS, this can be prepped ahead of time), this soup is easy to assemble with some simmering and stirring involved.
Summer Corn Chowder
Adapted from this recipe
Yields: 8-10 servings
For a thicker soup, transfer 2 cups of chowder to a food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Then, stir the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the soup.
5 rashers bacon, chopped
1 cup red onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. dried thyme
2 medium russet potatoes, diced into ½-inch cubes
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 ears of sweet fresh corn, husk + silk removed and kernels cut from cob (2¾ cup corn)
1 medium zucchini, diced into ½-inch cubes, (1½ cups)
1 cup half and half
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Croutons for garnish
In a large heavy-duty bottom stockpot or dutch oven, on medium heat, add bacon and cook until bacon is fully crisped to your liking. Remove excess fat and drain on a paper towel.
Using one tablespoon of reserved bacon fat, add onion, celery, red pepper, garlic, and thyme; cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring couple times, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf and leftover corn cobs. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, then lower the heat back to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are halfway cooked.
Add zucchini and corn; simmer for additional 8-12 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender. Discard the bay leaf and corn cobs. Add half and half and cook just until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with bacon bits and croutons.