Clover's Corn Chowder

Chef says: This is a lighter version of a classic, with smoky bacon, caramelized pearl onions, golden potatoes and charred sweet corn bobbing about. It’s the kind of soup I enjoy, thin and almost brothy, contrasted with hearty bits for a little chew.
By / Photography By Anne DesBrisay | October 15, 2016

Preparation

Corn stock

2 medium onions, quartered
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 ears corn, kernels removed and reserved for chowder
12 cups cold water

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain into a clean bowl; discard solids. Set aside.

Corn chowder

¼ cup butter, divided
¼ cup grapeseed oil, divided
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
8 cups Corn Stock
10 to 12 white pearl onions, blanched, peeled and cut in half
¼ pound waxy yellow potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes and parboiled in salted water
¼ pound slab bacon, cut into lardons, cooked and rendered fat reserved
2 ears corn, charred on the grill, then kernels removed
4 cups reserved raw corn kernels
½ cup evaporated milk
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced thinly on a bias, for garnish

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Stir in onions, leeks, shallots, celery and thyme and cook until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and corn stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

While soup is simmering, prepare the garnish. In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil until frothy. Add pearl onions, cut side down, and cook until caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes and sauté until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cooked bacon, some of the rendered fat if you wish, and charred corn kernels. Set garnish aside.

Remove bay leaves from the soup pot. Stir in reserved raw corn kernels, and remove chowder from the heat. Let cool slightly, then transfer the soup to a blender. Purée at high speed until very smooth. Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot, using the back of a spoon to push the softer solids through the sieve; discard solids. Stir in evaporated milk until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve

Warm four or six soup bowls. Divide garnish among the soup bowls, ladle the chowder on top and sprinkle with green onions.

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