Ontario is at it's prettiest in the Fall, when changing colours burnish the landscape with shades of red and gold. This is the time to go on a long road trip to admire the scenery!
One of the most popular places to see the gorgeous colours of Fall is at Algonquin Park, in Ontario. This park is teeming with visitors from around the globe who come to marvel at the stunning and constantly changing foliage. Here you can hike the trails, canoe on the tranquil waters, camp out in the wilderness or enjoy a picnic while savouring the majesty of nature.
Fall is also when Ontario's markets are flooded with fresh farm produce, making me want to come up with new and creative ways to use them in my cooking! The best place to buy fresh picked vegetables, smoked meats, home made preserves, pickles, baked goods and so much more is at St. Jacob's market, in Ontario. I love going there to stock up on loads of fresh produce and other goodies. And when I get back home, this grilled corn chowder is the first thing that I make. It is warming and hearty for the cooler weather and grilling adds a new dimension of flavour to the soup.
When corn is in season, I like to grill up lots of it on the barbecue, then take the kernels off the cobs and freeze them in ziploc bags. This way, we get to enjoy that grilled corn flavour all year around!
This is an all vegetarian recipe but you can add about 2-3 slices of chopped smoked bacon if you wish. Sauteed shrimp folded in at the very end are also great add ins! Serve with some crusty bread and a salad.
Grilled Corn Chowder
3 cobs of corn, grilled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 long sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 each, finely chopped: carrot, celery, zucchini, red pepper
4 mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp each: grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley
Take the kernels off the cobs of corn and place in a food processor. Pulse a few times until corn is minced but not turned into a paste. Some texture is important here. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
Warm oil in deep skillet over medium heat. Add thyme, onions, garlic, carrot, celery, zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms and potato. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 10 min or until vegetables are lightly browned and slightly softened.
Add flour to skillet, saute 1 min.
Add milk, stirring all the while. Add salt and pepper as well as the reserved minced corn. Cover skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for 15 min for flavours to blend and soup to thicken.
Add cream, cook 2 min. Turn off heat, then fold in the Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Serve right away.