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Charred Corn Preserved Lemon Chowder

I grew up in London, Ontario which always felt like the Land of Corn to me. We took all of that abundant, sweet, peaches and cream corn for granted and we ate it at ever single meal from the first day it showed up at the store until the very last cobs were snatched up in early fall. My mom never did anything fancy with it, we just ate lightly boiled, buttered and salted corn on the cob. A 1 pound block of butter was set aside and sat out on the table just for rolling your corn in and if you had delicate fingers you could use those little corn on the cob holders that actually looked like tiny, plastic corn on the cob.Believe it or not, my dad had no teeth and that man could destroy a buttery cob of corn like it was nobody's business and barely leave a kernel on the cob when he was done with it. True story.

It's coming to the end of corn season so we need to find ways to enjoy the last of it. I had already grilled the corn for my charred corn/scallion salsa so that was already done but you can either grill it on the bbq or even just on a grill pan. If it's fresh sweet corn, you don't need to par boil it or anything, just grill it until you get some nice brown spots on it. You can make it without doing that step but it looks so pretty to see those tiny little charred bits and it gives the soup a nice, smoky flavour. You can also substitute the condensed milk for milk or cream but I like to get the creaminess of cream without all that fat so I almost always use carnation milk myself. Of course, because preserved lemon is my new jam, it's in there too, giving every other mouthful a tart little yelp in your mouth because that's it's job and preserved lemon knows how to get the job done.

Charred Corn and Preserved Lemon Chowder

5 cobs of fresh corn, grilled
5 cups chicken stock

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 leek, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
chicken stock that you steeped the corn in
corn from the five cobs of corn (4 cups)
about 1 1/2 cups diced potato
1 hot pepper or to taste (i used a jalepeno), diced finely
the rind of 1 small preserved lemon, chopped finely
about 1/2 cup 2% carnation condensed milk
fresh parsely
pinch salt and a few grinds of black pepper

you can either grill your corn over your bbq or in a grill pan. Either way, take those grilled cobs and cut the nicely charred corn kernels off of the cobs and set the kernels aside.

Put the cobs in a pot and cover with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn it down to med low so it just barely simmering and let the corn cobs steep in the stock for at least an hour to really impart the stock with their corny goodness.

Remove and discard the cobs and set the stock aside.

When it's time to make the soup, heat a soup pot over med heat and fry up your bacon. When the bacon is nice and crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside for garnishing later on. You want to saute the leeks in the bacon fat so make sure there is at least a tbls or so in there. If there seems to be too much fat, remove some but leave 1 to 2 tbls of fat in there. Saute your leeks until they get nice and soft before you add the garlic. After letting it cook a couple more minutes pour in the reserved stock, salt and pepper the corn kernels, diced potato and the hot pepper along with the preserved lemon rind. Bring it to a boil and lower heat until it's just simmering and let it cook until the potato is soft - about 10 or 15 minutes should do it. Stir in the condensed milk and the fresh parsely and taste so you can adjust the salt and pepper

To serve, sprinkle the soup with some of the crispy bacon

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