A Visit to the Market
So I visited the Santa Clara Farmers Market last weekend and one purveyor was selling sweet corn, end of summer sweet corn, so I jumped on it. But what to do with sweet corn and how to make it bodacious. Well I put my thinking cap on and thought Sweet Corn Chowder. Well you may be thinking, yeah so what, sweet corn chowder, nothing that unusual about that. Here is where it gets perhaps a bit bodacious. I added an unusual spice. Aji Panca.
What is Aji Panca you may ask?
Aji Panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru, and frequently used in Peruvian cuisine. It is dark red, mild pepper with a smokey, fruity taste. I used the powder as I have it in my pantry. It is awesome, my favorite spice of late it adds a wonderful smokey taste to the food without blowing out your taste buds (unless of course you dump a cup of it into the dish, which I didn’t).
I also added some Spanish paprika to the chowder. So now we have a bit of fusion going, Peru meets Spain meets good old American corn. Hope you enjoy it.
4 slices of bacon – diced
1 large carrot – small dice
2 red onions – small dice
1 leek – diced
2 stalks celery diced
2 sweet Italian peppers – diced
7 cobs of corn – kernels cut off 5 cobs and the milk from 2 cobs. Reserve the corn cobs to add to the soup when cooking
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1/2 tbl Spanish paprika
1/2 tbl aji panca
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half
Add bacon to soup pan and cook to render the fat.
Remove bacon and set aside.
Add onions and leeks to bacon fat and saute until softened.
Add carrots, celery and red pepper to pot and continue sauteing until softened.
Add corn kernels to soup pot, mix thoroughly.
Add chicken stock to pot and bring soup to a simmer.
Add aji panca, paprika, thyme and garlic salt.
Add reserved corn cobs.
After 1/2 hour remove the corn cobs and continue simmering for another 20 minutes.
Add the corn milk and kernels from the 2 cobs that were milked, reserved bacon, salt and pepper.
Mix in half and half.
Serve and Enjoy! I garnished the chowder with a teaspoon of Red Pepper Tapenade that I picked up at the market on Saturday. Nice finishing touch.