Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

Chowder (or soup in general) is not a traditional choice for a summer meal. But this chowder is actually perfect for summer, since it’s loaded with the season’s bounty: summer squash and corn. It’s hearty and satisfying, but still so fresh and light.

What I love most about this chowder is that it relies on the corn itself to thicken it, rather than a roux or heavy cream. The corn is pureed with milk, then added to the soup to heat through. It’s a great way to save on calories, and really serves to imbue every single bite with the flavor of corn. We had impromptu dinner guests the night I put this on the menu, and they loved it just as much as we did. I topped each bowl with a square of baked puffed pastry, and we really liked the crunchy texture it added to the soup. I will definitely make this again. I’ll probably even double it next time, since Joe couldn’t get enough.

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
slightly adapted from Cooking Light

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 pound yellow summer squash, chopped
1 pound frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
2 1/4 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Set bacon aside on paper towels to drain. Reserve 2 teaspoons of drippings in pan.

2. Add butter to pan, then add 1/2 cup onions, celery, and squash to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3. Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined.

4. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

One year ago: Summer vegetable and pesto tart