Roasted Corn Chowder with Scallops and Bacon

originally published Oct. 11, 2009

Roasted sweet corn with poblano peppers, onions, seared scallops and smoked bacon..

Roasted Corn Chowder with Scallops and Bacon

Roasted Corn Chowder with Scallops and Bacon

(informed by a recipe by Rick Bayless)

3 cups fresh corn kernels, divided
1/2 small white onion
1/2 large poblano chile
1 red Fresno chile
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh whole milk
1 cup fresh cream
6 oz dry sea scallops
4 oz smoked bacon, diced
1 teaspoon cultured butter
1/4 teaspoon smoked chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Roast the poblano, Fresno, onion, garlic and 1/2 of the corn in a 450 degree oven until the peppers are blackened.  Place the peppers in a paper bag or under an inverted bowl to steam a bit- the skins will peel right off.

Pulse the uncooked corn in a blender with the milk, cream and smoked chili powder, then transfer to a heavy pot set over medium-low heat.  Stirring frequently, allow to simmer until reduced by 1/4.

Chop the roasted peppers, onion and garlic and add to the pan.  Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, sauté diced bacon over medium-high heat until well browned.  Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat and add 1 teaspoon butter, paprika and cilantro.  Add the scallops and sear until golden brown on both sides.  Transfer to the soup, stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper if necessary and serve steaming hot.


Heirloom Yellow Hominy with Roasted Tomatoes, Bacon and Chipotle Crema

A Northerner tells a waitress that he wants to order grits.  “Hominy, sir?”  the waitress asks.  “Oh, about four or five,” replies the confused customer..

Hominy with Roasted Tomatoes, Bacon and Chipotle Crema

Heirloom yellow hominy corn is nixtamalized, then simmered until the kernels have popped and become tender.  The cooked corn is cooled by being rubbed between your palms under cold running water, with the pericarp (the skin that gets stuck in your teeth when you eat corn on the cob) being left behind.  The corn is then set aside until ready to use.

To prepare the dish, slowly fry diced bacon on a cast iron comal or in a heavy skillet until all the fat has rendered and the bacon is very crisp.  Remove the bacon to the side to drain, and pour off all but a tablespoon of the fat from the pan.

Roast a plum tomato or two in a very hot oven until blistered, then remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, return the comal to the stove and add half a chopped yellow onion and a diced Poblano pepper and saute until lightly browned.  Add hominy and garlic and cook until vegetables are nicely browned.  Dice the roasted tomatoes and add to the pan with some fresh minced garlic, chili powder, a little filtered water and some oregano (Mexican preferred).  Allow to simmer, stirring often until the sauce begins to tighten, about 5 minutes.

Pour hominy into serving bowls, dress with reserved bacon, fresh cilantro and chipotle crema and serve immediately.

Queso Flameado

A decidedly Tex-Mex affair, queso flameado (flaming cheese) is a mixture of assorted white cheeses with chilies, onions, garlic and homemade chorizo served bubbling hot from the oven with warm tortillas..

Queso Flameado

(informed by recipes by the Homesick Texan)

For the Chorizo

1/2 pound fatty pork, coarsely ground
1 ancho and 1 guajillo chile, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chipotle chili sauce

Loosely combine all ingredients together in a bowl.  Pinch off ping pong ball-sized pieces and fry in a hot skillet until brown and crusty on the outside.  Transfer to a side dish to drain.

For the Vegetables

1/2 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded
1/2 Spanish onion, cut into wedges
1/2 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded

Place all ingredients in a heavy skillet and broil until blistered and partially blackened, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, cover and let stand until cool enough to handle.  Cut into strips.

To Prepare

Combine vegetables with 2 cups of assorted shredded white cheeses such as asadero and Oaxaca in a heavy skillet.  Arrange cooked chorizo over the top and dress with a little chipotle chile sauce.  Place in a 350 degree oven until bubbly, about 10-15 minutes.

Spoon mixture onto warm tortillas and serve immediately.

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

Locally-milled corn grits are simmered in homemade vegetable stock, then combined with farmhouse cheddar, fried onions, fresh peppers, garlic, cumin and cilantro and topped with smoky chipotle chili sauce..

Brazos de Dios Chili Cheese Grits

For the Sauce

1 cup fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 chipotles en adobo, diced
1/4 cup Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
sea salt

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt as needed.

For the Grits

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 large poblano pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
several sprigs fresh cilantro, torn

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and fry 30 seconds.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic and fry until lightly browned, then remove from heat.

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in the corn meal. Cook and stir until thick, adjusting consistency with additional stock if needed.

Add 2/3 of the cooked vegetables to the grits, along with any remaining melted butter. Fold in the cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then cover and let stand 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon grits onto a plate or into a bowl and top with spoonfuls of chipotle sauce. Spoon remaining vegetables over the top, then garnish with a little more cheese and cilantro.

Omnivore’s Option

Add 1/4 pound seasoned, browned ground bison or pastured beef to the chipotle chili sauce.

This post is part of the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday!

(Vegetarian) Posole Verde

Posole is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew made from cacahuazintle corn (nixtamalized whole hominy) with roasted tomatillos, onions, garlic, fresh green chilies and cilantro.  Typically found in Michoacán, Jalisco and the American Southwest, posole is sometimes considered to be more of a delicacy than an everyday dish..

Posole Verde

Posole Verde (adapted from a recipe by Rancho Gordo)

1/4 pound posole (whole dried hominy)
2 small white onions, peeled and halved
4 garlic cloves, peeled
15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed & halved through the equator
2 poblano chiles
1 serrano chile
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Soak posole overnight in cool, filtered water.  Drain, rinse and add to a heavy saucepan with 1/2 an onion and enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered until barely tender, about 2 hours. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then drain and set aside.

Roast garlic, onions, tomatillos and chilies in a hot oven until blistered and partially blackened.  Place the chilies in a paper bag or under an inverted bowl for 10-15 minutes to soften, then peel & discard the stem and most of the skin, ribs and seeds.

Working in batches, process the vegetables in a food processor until semi-smooth.

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Toast the cumin until fragrant, then add the corn and sauté until lightly browned.  Add puréed vegetables and cook, stirring often until thick, about 10 minutes.  Add vegetable stock, cilantro and oregano, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle into bowls and serve hot with fresh guacamole and slivered radishes.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays!