I will not sink my teeth into an out-of-season fresh tomato, but I don’t wait for summer to enjoy all kinds of corny-ness. This particular bowl features convenient, frozen fire-roasted kernels and an inexpensive, canned kind you might not pick up that often: hominy.
Its dried kernels are treated to the same kind of alkaline process that produces masa, and they morph into large and wonderfully chewy bits with lots of corn flavor. You may know hominy as the star of a stewy Mexican posole; once you stock your pantry with a can or two, you’ll come to rely on it as an easy alternative for canned beans in other recipes.
That’s how Jacques Pepin uses it in this chowder, which is humble and satisfying and quick – an apt description, you might say, of the great chef himself. Pair it with a warm brick of corn bread and you’ll serve up a corny trifecta.
Corn and Hominy ChowderServings: 4 (makes 5½ to 6 cups)
Serve with your favorite salsa verde and corn bread.Ingredients:3 or 4 cloves garlic1 medium onion5 or 6 scallionsOne 28-ounce can white hominy2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil2 teaspoons ground cuminLeaves from 2 stems fresh thymeOne 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes4 cups no-salt-added chicken or vegetable broth½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed1½ cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen; if using the latter, preferably fire-roasted)Leaves from 8 to 10 stems cilantroMethod:Peel and mince enough garlic to yield 1½ tablespoons. Cut the onion into small dice. Trim the scallions, and then coarsely chop the white and light-green parts. Drain and rinse the hominy in a colander.
Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the garlic, onion and scallions. Cook for 3 minutes, until softened, then add the cumin, thyme, diced tomatoes and their juices, the broth, salt and hominy. Give the mix a good stir; once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, stirring a few times.
Stir in the corn; cook for 5 minutes or just until heated through. Remove from the heat. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.
Coarsely chop the cilantro; stir some into the chowder and scatter over each portion in a bowl. Serve hot.
Nutrition: Per serving (using vegetable broth): 310 calories, 6 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 870 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 15 g sugar
Source: Adapted from Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way (Houghton Mifflin, 2004).