Like many other veggies, when corn is roasted, its naturally sweet, nutty flavor is brought out. The beauty of oven-roasting canned corn is that you don’t need to wait for outdoor grilling weather and corn to be in season to enjoy this delicious dish. This chowder was served as a first-course as part of my Mother’s Day Menu. The lovely flavor of roasted corn is highlighted in this easy dish that takes less than half an hour to make.
I’m sending this recipe off to Chaya of Sweet and Savory for My Meatless Mondays. Be sure to check it out for some excellent vegetarian inspiration!
(Yield: 4-6 first-course servings)
1 can corn, drained (if corn is in season, feel free to use 2-3 ears of corn on the cob)
1 medium starchy potato, peeled and diced
1 leek (white and light green part only), thinly sliced and cleaned
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c milk (low-fat or fat-free is fine), plus a splash more if needed
1 chicken (or vegetable) bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Fresh chopped chives (for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the corn together with 1 TB oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread it in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for about 18 minutes (stirring once halfway through), or until it starts to turn golden brown in spots.
In a medium pot, heat the remaining 1 TB oil over medium-low heat; add the leek and sauté until softened but not yet turning golden brown (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the potato, milk, bouillon, and bay leaf, then turn up the heat to medium-high and bring it up to a simmer (uncovered). Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down a bit and let it simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the bay leaf.
Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer it to a blender or food processor and pulse until it’s almost smooth (leaving a few lumps is better than overprocessing; if overprocessed, the potatoes will turn gummy). If you prefer a bit more texture, you can puree only half of the soup so there will still be whole chunks of potato.
Transfer the soup back to the pot it was cooked in and add the roasted corn (add a splash of milk if the soup is too thick). Heat the soup over low heat, just until warmed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with fresh minced chives.