We’ve been getting some great corn from Tipi Creek over the past few weeks. Then the ever-resourceful Judy came across a farmer who was about to till under an entire field of corn. Needless to say, many an ear has been husked and devoured in the past while.
Corn on the cob is one of my favourite things to eat in late summer – especially grilled so that some of the kernels are black, and of course slathered with butter – but with this much corn around, I’ve been trying some other classic preparations.
Flavourful Broth from Leftover Corn Cobs
With all due reverence to corn on the cob, I often find myself cutting off the kernels: it’s a quick way to turn an overwhelming pile of ears into a single bowl of food. But before relegating the empty cobs to the compost heap, there is more flavour to be extracted from them.
The base of my favourite corn chowder isn’t water or chicken stock, but corn broth. If you make a simple vegetable stock with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs, with the addition of empty corn cobs, you’ll be left with a liquor redolent of sweet corn.
Corn and bell peppers go well together because of their mutual sweetness. I always include red and yellow bell peppers as garnishes in my chowder, and any trim from these can also be added to the corn broth.
Fry bacon until there is a satisfying layer of grease in the pan. Remove the meat, then add chopped onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until the onions start to turn translucent.
There are many ways to thicken a corn chowder. I use roux, mostly because I like the flavour, but also because I was forced to make a roux every day for the first two months of culinary school, and I want to believe that it’s a useful preparation.
So I add flour to the bacon fat and cook it out. Then I whisk in my corn broth and bring it to a simmer so that the soup thickens.
Add corn kernels and cooked, chopped yellow-fleshed potatoes. Return the bacon to the pot. Season aggressively with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Ladle into soup plates and garnish with green onions.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate late summer vegetables.