Potato corn chowder with fennel, dill, and caraway ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

17 September 2015

Potato corn chowder with fennel, dill, and caraway

Potato corn chowder with fennel, dill, and caraway

I've been taking advantage of the end of the summer corn for the last few few weeks. We ate our way through a huge batch of summer chili, some of which is still waiting patiently in the freezer for future dinners. I also froze a bunch of farmer's market corn to store for the winter, and made a bunch of beautiful light yellow broth from the cobs. So far, so good.

Then I discovered Use Real Butter's chanterelle bacon corn chowder. Yes please!

We don't have any chanterelles to forage in Silicon Valley -- and even if we did, I'm the only person in our house who voluntarily eats mushrooms. So those were out. Bacon was similarly out, since we wanted a vegetarian chowder. But corn, potato, and fennel? That sounded like an amazing combination. I punched it up with fennel fronds and toasted caraway seeds, and our potato corn chowder with fennel, dill, and caraway was born.

This chowder turned out a little sweet for my tastes, largely because of the combination of super-fresh corn kernels and corn broth. If you're using frozen corn, I imagine that problem will not come up. But otherwise, there are a couple ways to combat the sweet. I added a few drops of liquid smoke to a serving, and that was very good. Hot sauce or cayenne pepper would also be great if you like the spice. Or go the other direction and add some grated parmesan cheese or other hard grating cheese.

And a crunchy, tart, or bitter salad of arugula or massaged kale and apples would be a perfect contrast on the side.

Potato corn chowder with fennel, dill, and caraway

Potato corn chowder with fennel, dill, and caraway
Inspired by Chanterelle bacon corn chowder
Serves 4-6

1 tbsp butter
2 small or 1 large leek (or use 2-3 shallots)
1/2 large bulb fennel
1 small or 1/2 large carrot
1/2 cup white wine/dry vermouth
3 cloves garlic
3 large boiling potatoes
3 cups veg broth or corn broth
3/4 tsp dried thyme
2 ears corn/approx 1 1/2 cups kernels
3/4 cup milk/cream
salt, pepper to taste
~2 tbsp each fresh dill, fennel fronds, and parsley
lemon wedges, 1 per serving
toasted caraway seeds, 2 pinches per serving

Melt your butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Trim, clean, and chop your leeks, and cut your fennel and carrot into small pieces. Add them to your soup pot along with a generous pinch of salt, stir, and let cook for about 5 minutes to soften.

While you're waiting, finely mince your garlic. Scrub and cube your potatoes.

When your vegetables have become soft and aromatic, deglaze the pan with your wine or vermouth. Scrape the bottom of the pan as needed to remove the fond. Then add your potatoes and garlic to the soup pot, along with your thyme, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Next, add your broth to the soup pot. Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, put on the lid, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until your potatoes are completely cooked through and ender. You can test this by smashing a piece of potato against the side of the pot.

Husk, de-silk, and slice your corn kernels off their cobs. Scrape the cobs with the back of your knife to get out as much fresh corn action as possible. Add your corn kernels and milk or cream to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper, and simmer gently for another 5 minutes or so.

Chop all your fresh herbs finely and stir them into the soup, reserving a pinch or two for final garnish if you so desire. Taste and correct seasonings.

Keep your pot of soup warm while you toast your caraway seeds. To do this, put a teaspoon or two of caraway seeds into a small, dry frying pan over medium heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Don't go anywhere, because seeds burn very easily. When the seeds have just barely turned a darker shade and they are very aromatic, turn off the heat.

Serve your soup with reserved herbs and a few pinches of caraway seeds scattered over the top. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over each bowl, and eat with plenty of hot toast. Rye or pumpernickel would be ideal, but sourdough is also good.

This made a delightful and comforting dinner, and was a great way to switch up our usual corn menu.

How are you eating the last of the summer corn harvest?

9 comments:

Michelle said...

Sweet chowder? Dinner and dessert in one? Corn is quite possibly my least favorite vegetable (but I still eat it, especially in chowder), but all that fennel in a chowder sounds incredible!

Marissa said...

We've been enjoying the last of the season's corn too and I'm SO in the mood for chowder. This looks like a must-try for me. Thanks, Eileen.

Sarah and Arkadi said...

yum! such a comforting chowder!

Sippity Sup said...

This is the perfect dish to bridge summer and fall. GREG

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