Louisville Magazine

MAR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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the recipe>> Fresh Corn Chowder 10 ears of corn, husks and silks removed, or 5 cups of frozen corn kernels* 4 slices of bacon, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces Now we all know, according to the edicts of the keepin'-it-local-and-seasonal movement, that a soup called Fresh Corn Chowder is a thing that should be whipped up in the late summertime. But for three big reasons I am writing about it in the chill of late winter. Te first is, the recipe is so good and simple that you'll want to file it away to use in every season, which means you'll be able to do it properly with ears from the farmers' market next summer. Te second is (shh, certain folks don't like to let this out), corn that is fresh-frozen is uniformly the highest-quality corn. In several blind tastings, judges chose Birdseye brand corn over all others for "sweetness, crunchiness, and juiciness." (I know, I know — it makes you want to start an Internet Flame War.) Which brings us to reason three: Who doesn't want a hearty, warming chowder after escaping the cold winds of March? No one. What better time to serve up a steaming tureen of the stuff than right in the middle of basketball madness? Quadrupling the recipe is insanely easy when using frozen kernels. And with that in mind, here is a nifty tip from the testing kitchen at Cook's Illustrated. Cream-based soups taste better reheated the second day than right off the stovetop. Tis is because the lactose in the milk breaks down into sweeter-tasting glucose. Not only that, but the carbohydrates in the onions also perform a similar trick. And if this isn't quite enough, the starches in the potatoes and flour break down into still more flavorful compounds. So keep this soup away from those freaky lactose-glucose-gluten-intolerant friends of yours. Tat way, there'll be more for the rest of us. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped fine 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons) 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour 3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth 8 small red or fingerling potatoes (about 12 ounces), scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 2 cups) 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or ¼ teaspoon dried) 2 cups whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (add baby spinach if you want more greenery) 1½ teaspoons table salt Ground black pepper Stand the corn on end. Using a chef's knife, cut the kernels from four ears of corn (you should have about three cups); transfer the kernels to a medium bowl and set aside. Grate the kernels from the remaining six ears us- ing the large-hole side of a box grater, then firmly scrape any pulp remaining on the cobs with the back of the knife. (You should have two generous cups of grated corn and pulp.) Sauté the bacon in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, turning the bacon with tongs until the pieces are crisp and dark golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the butter and on- ions, and cook until the onions are softened, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, no more than one min- ute. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about two minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add the chicken stock. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, milk, grated corn and pulp, and reserved bacon; bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer un- til the potatoes are almost ten- der, eight to 10 minutes. Add the reserved corn kernels and heavy cream and return to sim- mer; simmer until the corn ker- nels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about five minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the parsley, salt and pep- per to taste and serve immedi- ately. Makes approximately two quarts, serving six. *If using frozen kernels, divide them into two and three cups and proceed with the recipe. 3.12 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE [33]

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