Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder


Being part of a CSA has changed how I cook and meal plan. Where I used to find recipes I wanted to make and shop around what those recipes required, now I have to focus on using up ingredients. Fortunately, the August 2010 issue of Cooking Light is allowing me to pick recipes I want to make that also use the fresh, local produce I get in my CSA, like this soup. There are only so many times you can grill corn on the cob in a week, so making it into a soup topped with bacon, green onions, and cheese is a delightful departure from the status quo. Blending the corn with the milk gives it creaminess without added fat.

I prefer a thicker, more uniform-textured soup, so I used an immersion blender to puree the squash (and the celery, had I remembered to pick it up at the store) before the addition of the remaining cup of corn. Joe said it reminded him of a much lighter baked potato soup. Cooking Light recommends serving it with a tomato bruschetta, but I had eaten all of my tomatoes already, so we settled for a multi-grain baguette.

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
Yields 4 servings

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 lb yellow summer squash, chopped (I used pattypan squash)
1 lb frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided (I used 2 1/2 cups of fresh corn kernels.)
2 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese


1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add 1/2 cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.