This fresh corn chowder gets layers of flavor from cooking the cobs with good-quality chicken or vegetable stock and garlic. Add in a variety of mushrooms, which add both umami and a nice meaty texture. At the South Anchorage Farmers Market on Saturdays, look for a gorgeous array from Far North Fungi; lion’s mane, blue oyster, and king trumpet all play well in this chowder, while new potatoes add some heft. For extra rich flavor, stir in a bit of cream at the end and use an immersion blender to purée some of the corn and potatoes — puréeing is also a great option if avoiding dairy. Serve as is or top with seared scallops, shrimp or smoked fish. — Kim Sunée
Summer corn and mushroom chowder
4 ounces diced pancetta or chopped bacon
4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
12 to 16 ounces small new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into similar-sized 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, smashed
6 to 8 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock, water, or milk)
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, such as shiitake (stems removed) or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or oyster, king trumpet, chanterelle or morel mushrooms
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream or sour cream (optional)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional)
Optional add-ins: crabmeat; scallops; shrimp, smoked salmon
For serving, oyster crackers; hot sauce; reserved crispy pancetta; fresh chives or parsley
• If using, cook pancetta or bacon in a large soup pot until fat is rendered and pancetta is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate or bowl. Cut kernels off cobs. Tip: Place a small bowl upside down in a large bowl; stand one end of corn on middle of upside-down bowl and using a large knife, slice kernels off. Note: This should yield about 2 cups. Remove and discard any extra silk from cutting the corn; reserve cobs.
• Snap cobs in half, if large, and add cobs to soup pot with some of the rendered bacon fat, if using; add potatoes, garlic cloves, 6 cups chicken stock, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and pinch of cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let cook, 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and reserved corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, another 15 to 20 minutes on low heat. Add 1 to 2 cups more stock, as needed. Remove cobs and discard. Stir in jalapeno, if using, green onions, and heavy cream, if using. Let cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, or cream. Serve hot with reserved crispy pancetta and oyster crackers, hot sauce, and fresh herbs, if desired.