I’m going to keep this short because, you know, it’s October and I’m still talking about corn. On Saturday, my little family went apple picking and we passed farm stand after farm stand advertising corn. It occurred to me, after the fifth one or so, that I had yet to make corn chowder. And even though what I really wanted to make is butternut squash soup, I can’t deny corn when there is corn to be had.
Chances are, if there are still a few ears to be bought where you live, you might want to get right on making this soup and not read a rambling post from me. But a few notes. I love this version. I don’t like super creamy soups so this has just a hint and it comes from puréed corn kernels and coconut milk. Big chunks of potatoes are key, I used some with a lovely pink skin and a while flesh and I kept fishing them out of the pot long after I was full. And I think tarragon is really important here. Basil would be good too if you want to defy me.
4 ears of corn
1 cup of coconut milk, divided
1 large leek, washed well, trimmed, cut into quarters, and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound red skinned potatoes, scrubbed well, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped
Shuck the ears of corn and set aside two ears. Cut the kernels off the other two and place the kernels in a blender along with ¾ of a cup of the coconut milk. Add a pinch of salt and purée until smooth. Set aside.
Set a soup pot over medium heat. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and then add the leeks, carrots, celery, and a large pinch of salt. Stir well, then add the dried thyme. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are fragrant and starting to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Pour in the corn/coconut milk mixture and stir to coat the vegetables well. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about another 10 minutes.
Cut the kernels off the other two ears of corn. Add to the soup pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the corn is just cooked through. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup of coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowls garnished with tarragon.