My husband and I planned a last minute get-away for a weekend away to Maine. We drove up and stayed at a pretty bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport, right on the ocean. Maine is beautiful in the early summer; cool in the early morning, mild in the evening. On the recommendation of the innkeeper, we drove to a small, but wonderful fish restaurant that is a secret favorite of the locals. The aroma of the corn chowder that arrived at our table was truly scrumptious.
A good bowl of hot or cold corn chowder is a sure favorite to win over any appetite. Let me share with you my special and another little secret. You can freeze this chowder for up to four months. Then enjoy it on a cool, crisp fall evening, and remember those delightful days of summer!
Corn Chowder with Roasted Red Pepper Crème Fraiche
4-6 tablespoons sweet unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 leeks, whites only, cut into small dice
1 cup peeled Yukon Gold potato, cut medium dice
11/2 cups yellow onions, cut into small dice
4 roasted red bell peppers, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped (reserve 1 for crème fraiche)
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
4 cups fresh corn, about 6 ears
6 sprigs cilantro, plus extra for garnish, leaves removed
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped into small dice
1 tablespoon honey
8 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup crème fraiche
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat a medium size pot over low heat. Add the butter, when it melts, sauté garlic until soft, add leeks and cook until lightly browned. Add the potato, onion and thyme. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Turn the heat to high, and add the corn, 3 roasted red peppers (reserve 1 for crème fraiche), cilantro leaves, the jalapeno, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Stir to coat the corn in the mixture. Pour 8 cups of vegetable stock into the pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer about 40 minutes, until the corn and potatoes are tender but not mushy.
Meanwhile, puree the reserved roasted red pepper and crème fraiche in a food processor until smooth. Season with the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the soup over a large bowl. Put half the corn mixture into the blender with 1/2 cup of the liquid (soup will need to be pureed in batches). Process at the lowest speed until the corn is pureed, then poor in 1 cup of liquid. Turn the speed to high, and pour in more liquid, a little at a time, until the soup has the consistency of heavy cream. Blend at least 1 minute, until the soup is completely smooth. Transfer to a container, and repeat with the remaining soup. Adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into bowls; serve with a dollop of the roasted red pepper crème fraiche and cilantro leaves on top.
|Renée Cohen is the instructor and chef at CuisineArts.|