September can be such a tease.  The air is livable and I long to stomp through crunchy leaves with a hot cider in one hand and our dog’s leash in the other. But we just aren’t there yet. White linen may have left the stage but corduroy jackets aren’t regular stars. Similarly, the cool air means the end of berry season but corn is still stacked on the vendors’ folding tables.  What goes best with an early fall warm day and cool evening breeze?  Crab and corn chowder.

As if the addition of crab to a classic corn chowder doesn’t make it sound appealing, how about a recipe that co-stars Corn Chowder 003bacon and chanterelle mushrooms? Sold. I’d been eyeing this recipe, from The Bon Appetit Cookbook, all summer, waiting for the mercury to drop just enough to rationalize a full-bodied savory soup. The recipe is a roadmap of the season’s best options: local crabmeat, fresh leeks from the farm, and bright crispy corn.

For me, hot soup recipes are best left to low key Sunday evenings when ingredients can sizzle and simmer on their own time while I prep the next step, glass of wine in hand. Though it can be accomplished with only two hands, I recommend tackling this recipe with the help of a sous  in the kitchen. If only for the witty banter.  

Recipe after the jump!

The final product was  rich and delicious, the ingredients paired nicely with each other in both texture and flavor, but the broth was a touch bland for our palates. We ended up tossing in a heavy dose of spices including cumin, cayenne pepper, and ground savory to wake it up.  Regardless, we do plan to make it again when September’s coquettish ways come calling once more.

Crab and Corn Chowder with Bacon and Chanterelle Mushrooms, from Bon Appetit 

6 ears fresh yellow corn
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 cups whipping cream

2 TB olive oil
7 bacon slices, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 ts fennel seeds
1 2/3 pound white skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes
2 TB butter
6 oz fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 TB dry Sherry
1 ts fresh thyme leaves

1 pound fresh crabmeat
2 TB chopped fresh parsley 

Cut kernels off corn cobs. Set kernels aside. Combine cobs, broth, and cream in a heavy large saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium high heat. Add bacon and saute until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 TB bacon drippings; add onion, leeks, celery, and fennel seeds to pot. Saute until veggies are crisp-tender about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes. Discard cobbs from cream mixture; strain cream mixture into potato mixture. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn kernels. 

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Sherry and thyme. Add mushroom mixture to chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and additional spices!).

Saute crabmeat in the same large skillet, over medium-low heat until heated through.

Divide crabmeat, reserved bacon, and parsley among bowls. Ladle chowder over and serve.