I am not a huge fan of corn, basically because there is very little nutritional value that is derived from it. I often call it the vegetable that you "rent." :) However, my dad planted some sweet corn in his garden this year for the first time, and he shared some with me. My girlfriend always orders corn chowder from Panera (I always go for broccoli-cheddar soup) and I was curious and intrigued to make a corn chowder to see what she loved about it. I have to say, this was really yummy! I especially liked the flavor and texture that came with using fresh corn. This would still be good with frozen corn, but I imagine that it would be slightly different. Five stars from the 5 of us!!
Corn Chowder with Cheddar Cheese
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
4 oz. bacon, chopped
2 tbl. cup olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 lbs.)
5 cups corn kernels, fresh (5 ears) or frozen (1 1/2 lbs.)
1 cup milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and dry mustard and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the milk and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.