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Fresh Corn Chowder
From Cook's Illustrated

Be sure to use salt pork, not fatback, for the chowder. Streaks of lean meat distinguish salt pork from fatback; fatback is pure fat. We prefer Spanish onions for their sweet, mild flavor, but all-purpose yellow onions will work fine too.


10 medium ears fresh yellow corn, husks and silks removed
3 ounces salt pork, trimmed of rind and cut into two 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium red-skinned potatoes (about 12 ounces), scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 medium bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper


Stand corn on end. Using chef's knife, cut kernels from 4 ears corn (you should have about 3 cups); transfer to medium bowl and set aside. Grate kernels from remaining 6 ears on large holes of a box grater, then firmly scrape any pulp remaining on cobs with back of knife (you should have 2 generous cups of kernels and pulp). Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.

Sauté salt pork in Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, turning with tongs and pressing down on pieces to render fat, until cubes are crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in butter and onions, cover pot, and cook until onions are softened, about 12 minutes. Remove salt pork and reserve. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Whisking constantly, gradually add stock. Add potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, milk, grated corn and pulp, and reserved salt pork; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add reserved corn kernels and heavy cream and return to simmer; simmer until corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes longer.

Discard bay leaf and salt pork. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Yield: Makes about 2 quarts, serving 6


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