Sunday, October 16, 2011

Corn Chowder and Country Style Ribs

One thing about CSA corn is that it is the most fabulous thing you’ve ever eaten on the day it is picked and deteriorates quickly after that. A hectic few weeks at work meant that I had had 5 ears of corn languishing in the fridge and I knew that eating them boiled on the cob wasn’t going to cut it. Enter the serendipitous finding of a corn chowder recipe in a sample edition of Cook’s Country that Elaine had given me. I adjusted for having one less ear of corn that the recipe called for, but of course mucked it up a little along the way because I wasn’t fully paying attention (oops!). I paired the chowder with some slow cooked, dry rubbed country style pork ribs, recipe also below.

Corn Chowder
5 ears corn, kernels removed, cobs reserved
1 onion, chopped
1 can corn, drained
4 cups chicken stock
3 slices bacon, thinly sliced
1 lb red bliss potatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
1 cup heavy cream
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly crossways
1 tbs flour
½ cup water

Cook bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until nice and crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and leave about 2 Tbs of bacon grease in your pot. Add the chopped onions, corn and s&p to taste and sautee until cooked, about 8 minutes. In the meantime, puree canned corn with chicken stock – this is where I went wrong. I didn’t reduce the liquid from the original recipe, but I only used 1 can of corn, instead of two.* This mixture acts as a thickener for the chowder, so I sort of, ahem, screwed myself. Not really, it was easily fixable, we’ll get to that later.

Once your veggies have cooked, add potatoes, corn/stock puree and corn cobs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 15 minutes.  Throw away the coms and stir in the cream, leeks and reserved bacon.  At this point I realized my mistake above and knew the chowder wouldn't thicken the way it was supposed to.  To remedy this, I made a slurry from 1 tbs flour and half a cup of water and added that to the pot.  I cooked the soup an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the raw flour to cook.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

*The original recipe (sorry, can't link to it since I don't subscribe to Cook's Country) calls for 6 ears of corn, 2 cans of corn and 5 cups of chicken stock.  Feel free to follow my instructions as my chowder was delicious and a great consistency.  But, if you want to do it the original way, puree 2 cans corn with 4 cups stock and add the last cup of stock when you add the potatoes.  Then you shouldn't have to use the flour/water slurry.

Country-Style Ribs
Country style pork ribs are cut from the rib end of the pork loin and are generally boneless, although mine did have a few small bones. Mine were quite long, probably about a foot each, so I did cut them in half before cooking them. They are their most delicious when you can cook them low and slow – you’ll have a super tender piece of meat that is literally falling apart. I did a combination of high heat to get a head start (useful to speed up a week night meal) and low heat.

2 lb Country Style Pork Ribs
2 tbs paprika
2 tbs fresh ground black pepper
2 tbs dry mustard
2 tbs kosher salt
2 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tbs cumin
Canola oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine all spices above for your rub. Rub ribs with oil and then thoroughly coat them with your rub. Place ribs on a tin foil lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes. At that point, turn the oven down to 250 degrees and let the ribs cook for another hour to hour and half. You want the ribs to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees and for the to be falling apart tender.

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