Are you ready for fall? I’m not ready for fall. Oh, I still like apples, pumpkins and cider. I’m craving borsch and other hot soups. But I like late-summer sun and in-season tomatoes even better. We had a cold summer in Wisconsin this year. An interminable wait for tomatoes. So I think I’ll hold off on the borsch for a little while. You understand.
Instead, I can offer a recipe for corn chowder. It’s a hot soup, but it’s based on late-summer, farmer’s market ingredients. Call it a gentle preview of fall.
This soup is a quicker version of this corn chowder recipe. In a soup pot, sauté some chopped onions, minced celery and a couple of small, peeled and diced potatoes in olive oil and butter on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Add the kernels from two large cobs of corn; add ¼ tsp. each of sage and thyme; add kosher salt and ground pepper to taste. Sauté 5 more minutes.
Add 3 cups of milk; bring to a simmer (don’t boil); and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, sauté a small, diced red pepper with some diced bacon or fatty ham until the pepper’s soft. Take the soup off the heat; puree about 1/3 of it in a blender or food processor. Add back to soup pot; add red pepper and ham. Salt to taste. Serve with chopped scallions. A bit of crumbled feta is nice, too.