Harvest’s Farewell: Moroccan Spiced Corn Chowder
Photo Credit iStock Photo
These are the days of change. Every day, the early autumn sky is dotted by more and more colors – schoolbus yellow, pumpkin orange, and brick red. The temperatures continue to decline, the air turning from humid to crisp. The markets are changing as well, each week the tables shrink, summer’s produce disappearing seemingly before our very eyes. All this creates busy days for those of us who seek to capture at least some sliver of the harvest canning, drying and freezing.
This week’s market buy destined for the freezer was fresh corn, which I saved in two ways: frozen kernals, shaved from the cob, and then as stock, both of which are put to good use in this recipe.
3 ears corn
1 small shallot
2 sprigs thyme
4 cilantro stems
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 medium garlic clove, minced
½ Serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/8 inch dice
1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
4 teaspoons of harissa
Shuck corn and remove kernels from the cob. Place corn kernels into a bowl. Put cobs into a medium saucepan with shallot, thyme and cilantro stems. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve as corn stock. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan until hot, but not smoking. Sauté red onion and Serrano chile slightly softened, approximately 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant approximately 30 seconds. Sprinkle pan with all-purpose flour and spices and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of the corn stock and bring to a boil. Add potato and simmer for 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and cook for 10 minutes or until corn and potatoes are both tender. Let cool slightly and puree in a food processor. Force through a fine mesh sieve, pressing hard on solids; discard solids. Return to cleaned pan and bring to a simmer. Add kosher salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon. Add heavy cream and cook for 2 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add any remaining corn stock or water. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Pour into bowls and top with a teaspoon or less of harissa.