Fall is when the wild mushrooms, particularly Chanterelles, start mysteriously popping out of the dark forest duff around here. It's also when the corn is ripe, making a perfect marriage. This soup would go great with a pile of steamed kale, drizzled in olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar and salt.
Corn Chowder with Bacon, Crab and Chanterelle Mushrooms
- 4 ears fresh yellow corn
- 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
- 3 cups whipping cream (or milk or milk substitute if aiming for a lower fat soup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 7 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium)
- 3/4 cup finely chopped celery (i didn't have any and went without - it was fine)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1-2 colored sweet peppers, diced
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 6 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoons dry Sherry
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried
- 1 pound fresh crabmeat (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cut kernels off corn cobs. Set kernels aside and put the cobs into a large heavy saucepan. Peel the potatoes. Set diced spuds aside and add peels to saucepan. Chop the leeks. Save the butt ends and the leaves, chop up, rinse and combine with the corn cobs, broth, and cream. Simmer 5 minutes, being careful not to scorch the cream. Remove from heat.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons pan drippings; add onion, leeks, celery, and fennel seeds to pot. Sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and sweet peppers. Strain cobs, leek leaves and potato peels from cream mixture; add strained stock into potato mixture. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn kernels. Simmer chowder until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Sherry and thyme. Add mushroom mixture to chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sauté crabmeat in same large skillet over medium-low heat just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide crabmeat, reserved bacon, and parsley among bowls. Ladle chowder over and serve.