I went to the South Valley Farmer’s Market looking for lettuce, since ours had peaked a month or so ago, and found some beautiful leeks. But what to do with them? But then I found a corn chowder recipe in the latest Saveur magazine and realized that I could adapt it and substitute the leeks for the onions, use fresh green chile and corn, which I also purchased there, and make a lunch feast. Combined with a fresh tomato and cheddar cheese sandwich on gourmet buns, the meal was outstanding and only took an hour to fix, with most of that time spent in cooking the chowder. I know that purists will scold me for cooking a chowder in the summer, but I don’t care!
4 ears fresh corn, shucked
4 strips bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek (white part only), chopped fine
1 rub celery, chopped fine
1 bay leaf
6 cups milk
2 small red potatoes, quartered
¾ cup chopped New Mexican green chile that has been roasted and peeled, seeds and stems removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 cup chopped fresh basil for garnish
Cut the kernels off the corn and cut the cobs in half. Reserve.
Heat the bacon in a large pot and fry, stirring occasionally, until it’s crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish and leave the remaining bacon in the pot. Add the butter, thyme, garlic, leek, celery, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes.
Add the reserved corn kernels and cobs, milk, and potatoes, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked, about 25 minutes.
Skim any foam off the top, add the green chile, and cook for 2 minutes. Discard the cobs and the bay leaf. Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to the blender and puree. Stir the puree back into the pot, season with salt and pepper, and serve garnished with the basil and reserved bacon.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium