Like most of Cooks Illustrated recipes this soup is a little bit more time consuming than other recipes, but the result is so incredibly delicious that you shouldn't hesitate a minute to invest the extra time. You will be rewarded with a sweet and aromatic soup, not a flour and cream heavy kind of soup, but light and full of sweet corn flavor. You will get the best result if the corn for this soup is very fresh and juicy.
From Cook's Illustrated.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
Starting our Lighter Corn Chowder recipe with sautéed bacon lent our base a sweet smokiness. Dialing back on the dairy allowed the fresh corn flavor to come through. To make up for the body that our Lighter Corn Chowder lacked after losing most of the dairy, we pureed a portion of the chowder in a blender. Highlighting the corn was the ultimate goal of our Lighter Corn Chowder recipe. To do this, we made a homemade corn broth using the juice from the cobs after stripping them of their kernels. (less)
Be careful to remove only the part of the corn kernel sticking out of the cob; cutting deeper will pull off fibrous material. Yukon gold potatoes can be substituted for the red potatoes, minced chives for the basil. Depending on the sweetness of your corn, the finished chowder may need to be seasoned with sugar.
8ears corn , husks and silk removed
3tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion , chopped fine
4slices bacon , halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2teaspoons minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/4cup all-purpose flour
3/4pound red potatoes , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1. Using chef’s knife or corn stripper, cut kernels from corn; transfer to bowl and set aside (you should have 5 to 6 cups kernels). Holding cobs over second bowl, use back of butter knife to firmly scrape any remaining pulp on cobs into bowl (you should have 2 to 2 1/2 cups pulp). Transfer pulp to center of clean kitchen towel set in medium bowl. Wrap towel tightly around pulp and squeeze tightly until dry. Discard pulp in towel and set corn juice aside (you should have about 2/3 cup juice).
2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, bacon, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and edges are beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add water and bring to boil. Add corn kernels and potatoes. Return to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes have softened, 15 to 18 minutes.
3. Process 2 cups chowder in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return puree to chowder; add half-and-half and return to simmer. Remove pot from heat and stir in reserved corn juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and up to 1 tablespoon sugar. Serve, sprinkling with basil.