The first time I had this soup was when I visited my oldest son after the birth of his [now] four year old son. Their neighbours brought a big pot of it over one evening and I thought, if there is a food that defines heaven, this is it!
Best Corn Chowder Ever!
8 ears [or more] fresh corn
8 cups of vegetable stock [can also use chicken stock if you prefer]
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 leeks or scallions or ramps [I must admit I have no idea what a "ramp" is, other than a way to exit the highway!]
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
1 or two zucchini halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch of fresh chives sliced into 3/4" strips
Slice the kernels from the corn into a large bowl and set aside.
Simmer the cobs, vegetable stock and garlic in a large pot, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove cobs and discard. Set the stock aside for now.
Melt butter in another large pot. Add onion, celery, leeks and red peppers and sweat for four minutes, until tender. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt and cayenne and stir to coat the vegetables.
Next add the corn kernels and potatoes and reserved stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes.
Add zucchini and simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in heavy cream. [I've also seen recipes that add up to 2 cups of milk at this point instead of, or in addition to, cream.]
Remove bay leaves.
Puree about a quarter of the chowder in a blender or food processor [ use an immersion blender if you have one.] Return the puree to the pot and mix well. Remove from heat and stir in garlic. Ladle chowder into bowls and sprinkle with chives.
The menfolk around here like to add Tabasco and more cayenne to spice it up, but I like to actually taste the vegetables! If I have day old French bread around I break it into the soup. Old habits die hard! Whenever my mother made soup we always broke chunks of bread into it.....