I have never smelled something so heavenly as onions cooking in salt pork. If there is one thing I learned from this excursion into corn chowder let it be that. A couple weeks ago we went out to celebrate the baptism of Jeff’s Nephew/god child. We ate at a tasty restaurant simply called The Café in Ames, Iowa. The daily specials included corn chowder, which I think everyone at the table ordered and devoured. It was kind of pricy at $6 for an appetizer sized serving. It’s had me hankering to make my own corn chowder ever since.
I turned to my favorite cookbook, Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe. They have a recipe for corn chowder and it is long and involved. But I trust in their recipes and couldn't stop thinking about that soup and I wanted to make it.
To get the freshest corn we stopped at the road side stand and got ten ears. Then we visited the local butcher to get the salt pork and the grocery store to get whole milk and cream. Then the garden to get parsley and thyme. I have now invested way too much time into just the ingredients and I still have to milk the corn. You heard me right. I said, “milk the corn”. Luckily Cook’s Illustrated had a nice illustration of how to milk the corn and I’ll show you too.
This corn chowder is rich enough that a simple slice of bread and a glass of water is all you need to make a meal. And let’s face it all that cream and pork fat makes it a pretty dense dish.
10 medium ears of fresh yellow corn, husks and silks removed2 ounces of salt pork, trimmed of rind and cut in half1 tablespoon unsalted butter1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped fine2 medium garlic cloves, minced3 tablespoons all-purpose flour3 cups chicken broth (I used turkey and it was delish)2 medium red potatoes diced into ¼ inch pieces1 bay leaf1 teaspoon fresh thyme2 tablespoons minced parsley1 cup cream2 cups whole milkSalt and pepper to taste