You know what would make Ikea really amazing? If it was in the tiniest building ever. The rooms are all designed for small efficient living and yet the building its all hosted in is a labyrinth of winding halls. I know this is not a feasible idea, but wouldn’t it really seal the deal on the magic of Ikea if the building was even tiny?
So yeah, we went to Ikea the other day for who knows what (because by the time we got there, we couldn’t remember why we had to go). They did the smartest thing I have yet to see at an Ikea, and replaced the fake TVs with real flat screens so that the men could enjoy football while the women spent ungodly amounts of money on Svinderglupins.
It all made me a little sad though. I am not good at daydreaming when reality is so muddled. I can dream about things if the ground under me is solid – but when its not – it’s just a reminder of everything that’s wrong.
I have been itching to make soups and stews but it’s still too hot for that type of thing so I saw this recipe and jumped on it because it screamed the best of both worlds.
Summer Sweet Corn Chowder
- 10 medium ears of fresh yellow corn, husks and silks removed
- 2 ounces of salt pork, trimmed of rind and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped fine
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth (I used turkey and it was delish)
- 2 medium red potatoes diced into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 cup cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
1: Prepare the corn. Cut the kernels off four of the ears of corn. It is easiest to cut the ear in half and then use a chef’s knife to cut downwards along the ear. You don’t want to go so deep that you get any cob, just nice juicy kernels of corn. Set aside, you should have roughly 3 cups. Milk the remaining six ears and the cobs you cut the kernels off. To do this use the coarsest side of your grater and grate the corn off. Then use the back of your knife to scrape off any remaining pulp and juice. You should have about 2 cups of pulp and corn juice.2: In a heavy deep pan like a Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté the salt pork over medium heat, use a flat spatula to press down on the salt pork to help the fat come out as you cook it for about 10 minutes or until both sides of the pork fat are nice and crackling brown. Reduce the heat to low and then add the butter and onions. Cover and cook until softened about 12 minutes. Remove the salt pork and reserve. Add the minced garlic and sauté one minute. Then you’re going to make a roué by adding the flour and whisking it in. Then slowly add the stock whisking as you go.
3: Add the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, whole milk, corn pulp and then add back in the salt pork. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the potatoes are almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Now add in the corn kernels and heavy cream and return to a simmer; simmer until the corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Take out the bay leaf and salt pork. Serve with a big smile on your face, because you know this will be the most wonderful corn chowder of the summer!
I tried to make this soup too late in the season. Corn was a distant memory at every one of the local markets. The few ears left were small and sad. I went to 5 markets in search for 10 ears of corn (lucky for them, each market lured me in for something I didn’t need) finally gathering enough to make this. I think fresh picked sweet corn would make all the difference in this recipe. The soup was good, but very mild almost loosing the corn flavor (I am blaming this on the tiny not-as-fresh-corn for not producing enough milk or kernels for a more potent flavor). I will be trying this again next summer when the farm stands are open and packed and I will be adding some nice crispy bacon on top. I can’t wait.
To top it all off, the Ikea cafe really creeps me out. Not really sure why, other then food in the middle of a furniture store seems weird to me. I guess when the zombie apocalypse comes about – we could all head to an Ikea for tiny meatballs and fine Swedish engineered futons. We may last a while there.