a home cook with notions & an appetite
Stopping by the farmer’s market last weekend, we were excited to see that Rhoads Farms had their triple sweet corn in abundant supply this week. They’re not our CSA, but we probably buy more regularly from Rhodes than just about anyone…it’s those crack strawberries they open the season with…and blackberries…and now the corn. What to do with the corn came up and crab was immediately thrown into the mix.
We’ve been trying to eat healthier lately, which means I’ve actually been cooking from my back-issues of Cooking Light. I find that they’ve had more hits than misses, especially if you’re diligent about tasting your dish throughout (and seasoning throughout the cooking process instead of just at the end as they can often recommend) and you learn to ignore some of the on-line reviewers that tend to only believe that a dish can be improved by either adding red pepper flakes, cheese, doubling-meat and “a touch of heavy cream.” Then again, some of those reviews can be entertaining…
Cooking Light’s Spicy Corn and Crab Chowder was originally published in their budget section (promising only $2.41 a serving!) – of course notice their ingredient list:
5 ears of corn from a GAP-Certified farm are not a frozen 1-pound bag of mega-mart corn kernels, so your cost per serving mileage may be slightly different.
The poblanos were the biggest amount of work for the recipe – and I cheated it a bit. With the original instructions, I was supposed to turn the poblanos every so often to blacken them evenly. I cut them in half so I didn’t have to turn them. I swear that they went into the bags just fine and peeled and were chopped up in the end just as if they’d been hand-turned poblanos. I used two poblanos instead of one because the ones we bought were very small.
So here’s the corn. We didn’t only buy five ears, but it happened to take five to get to a pound of kernels. (You’ve got to eat some of them plain!) Well, a pound and some change. I also saved three of the cobs and cut them in half to flavor the soup a bit.
Butter, onion, salt, sugar and red pepper into the Dutch oven and some quality saute time. Add the corn and saute a bit more. At this point, I took 3/4 of a cup of the corn/onion mixture out of the pan.
Took 3/4 cup corn/onion mixture and added 3/4 cup of half-and-half to it and let the VitaMix (I love that thing) do its thing. See how smooth and creamy it is? That took less than a minute.
There should be more photos, but the rest of the process is fairly fast. Diced potato and 2 cups of water were added to the pan with the remaining corn and onion while I was playing with the VitaMix. I also added the cob halves for flavor. In looking at the rest of the recipe, I only had a few minutes to pick through my crab meat for shell pieces. In the end, I could have used a few minutes more (those pieces are tiny!).
Once the potato/corn/onion/cob mixture boiled for 4 minutes, I removed the cobs and then added the flour and remaining half and half (mixed together), the pureed corn/onion mixture, milk, poblano and crab to the pot. Temperature was reduced to medium and mixture was simmered for another 3 minutes with a decent amount of stirring.
In the end, this is a 4-serving chowder for 375 calories that more than showcased some pretty amazing fresh corn from the market. Will you think you’re eating a full-cream chowder made with heavy cream and sticks of butter? No. But the spice, use of clawmeat and small details (like roasting the poblanos) simply make this a great soup.