August Anniversary ~ Summery Corn Chowder

I love to celebrate the little anniversaries in our life. They give us an excuse for a special meal, a bottle of wine, and time together. 🙂

Every August, we celebrate the date that we moved into our current house together, and I also celebrate the date I moved to Seattle from the Midwest a few years before. For this little anniversary, we usually have a Dungeness crab dinner, since it is one of our favorite Northwest treats. It always feels like a special occasion when we steam a couple crabs. 🙂 (For two crabs {about 3 lbs each}, steam for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through.)

For the first course, I made summery corn chowder this year. The original recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen. They find the most unique and creative ways to improve classic recipes, and I really enjoy their show, their magazines, and their cookbooks. For this recipe, they amped up the corn flavor by using some of the corn juice, which I thought was a clever idea. I changed 3 things to make this a lighter recipe than the original. I omitted the butter altogether, and instead used a very good nonstick pan. I also trimmed most of the fat off of the bacon, and I replaced the half and half with skim milk. The final product turned out to be creamy, sweet, and delicious. It felt like summer in a bowl!

Corn Chowder

Based on a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 6

 ears corn, husks and silk removed

 onion, chopped fine

 slices bacon trimmed of excess fat, halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch pieces

 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

cup all-purpose flour

 cups water

pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

 cup skim milk

 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Using chef’s knife or corn stripper, cut kernels from corn; transfer to bowl and set aside (you should have 5 to 6 cups kernels). Holding cobs over second bowl, use vegetable peeler or back of butter knife to firmly scrape any remaining pulp on cobs into bowl (you should have 2 to 2 1/2 cups pulp). Transfer pulp to center of clean kitchen towel set in medium bowl. Wrap towel tightly around pulp and squeeze tightly until dry. Discard pulp in towel and set corn juice aside (you should have about 2/3 cup juice).

2. In Dutch oven over medium heat, add onion, bacon, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and edges are beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add water and bring to boil. Add corn kernels and potatoes. Return to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes have softened, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. Process 2 cups chowder in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return puree to chowder; add milk and return to simmer. Remove pot from heat and stir in reserved corn juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkling with basil.

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