Only I would bring you a chowder recipe on the first sunny and 80+ degree day in recent memory. But now that's it is nice out again, I'm thinking I need to use up last summer's produce before I re-fill my freezer with new stuff. And actually, a meal made with such fresh summer ingredients tastes great on summer's first real day, even if it's served in the form of a hot soup.
One thing I have excess amounts of from last summer is fresh sweet corn, cut from the cob and vacuum sealed on the same day it was picked. I have not really been very sure how to use it over the winter months. But last night I happened to be visiting with a chef from a local restaurant and he provided me with a great idea on how to use up my corn...chow-dah!
To make my summertime corn chowder, I simply sauteed onion, hot pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic in some olive oil, toasted some quinoa in that mixture, then added the frozen corn kernels and vegetable stock. Once cooked, I added milk and herbs. Blend a small portion of the mixture for extra creaminess, then mix it all back together before serving with more herbs and milk, goat cheese crumbles, and/or avocado slices.
This chowder ends up with such a great balance of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. The sweetness is due entirely to the market fresh corn. The spiciness comes from a serrano pepper also saved from last year's market (but the heat is cooled somewhat by the milk). Finally, herbs and cheese are the final touch when serving up bowls of this goodness.
Quinoa Corn Chowder, adapted from a commenter on this post
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 hot chili pepper, diced (I used serrano)
1/2 cup quinoa, raw
4 cups stock
3 cups (at least) frozen sweet corn kernels
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup whole milk or cream
2 tsp assorted fresh herbs (chives, basil, dill, etc).
Goat cheese and/or avocado for garnish if needed.
In a large dutch oven, heat your onion, garlic, and chili pepper over medium heat with some salt and pepper in some olive oil or butter until soft( about 5 minutes). Add quinoa and toast in oil/butter mixture for another 2-4 minutes, or until it smells good and nutty.
Add your stock, corn, and paprika. Increase heat to high, partially cover, and boil gently for about 10 minutes. Cut the heat, add milk, then remove a couple ladels full of soup to puree. Return puree to pot and serve topped with extra herbs, goat cheese crumbles, and/or avocado slices.
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