I love white chowders but I have always struggled to make one that was both light and interesting - until now! I smoked the corn first using a method I read about by the owners of Honey and Co. in London. I let the husks burn and used the smoke from them burning to flavor the corn. It sounds complicated but is actually really, really simple. The next thing I do is to cook it really slowly on medium or medium low heat. That keeps the veggies from caramelizing and allows the cream to stay sweet and true to flavor. This is really an outstanding chowder! —Belle Année
First, smoke the corn:
Shuck and rinse the five ears of corn. Reserve the husks from two of the ears of corn. Cut the corn away from the cob and pour into a bamboo steaming basket or a small colander that will fit into a stock pot with a tight fitting lid.
Line the base of a that large stock pot with the reserved husks. Put it on the stove over a high flame for 3 minutes, until the husks begin to burn.
Place the steamer basket or colander containing the corn into the pot and put the lid on the pot. Cook over high heat for five minutes, then turn the heat off but leave corn in the pot for another five minutes. Remove and set aside.
Prepare the soup
Cut the bacon into 1" pieces then cook the bacon strips over medium heat until the bacon is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside over paper towels to drain. Add the potatoes and onion and cook in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes until the onions are beginning to be transluscent and the potatoes are starting to soften. Add the corn and let cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the can of fish stock. Bring the heat up to medium high and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and return to a boil for 3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the milk, cream and salt and pepper to taste.
When the shrimp are cooked through (about 2 more minutes) turn the heat off, return the bacon to the chowder and serve immediately garnished with a generous amount of finely chopped chives on top for color.
Remember my big discovery: Be patient! Don't crank up the heat until you add the broth and then only for boiling purposes and to cook the shrimp. Any other time it should be on medium or medium-low heat.
The other key is to not boil the soup after you add the milk. That makes the broth "break" and look like baby puke. Sorry. I've got a 12-week old child. That's what I see.