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Crab-and-Corn Chowder with Bacon and Chanterelle Mushrooms

Corn and Crab Chowder

From The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

Makes 8 first-course servings

6 ears fresh yellow corn (or about 4 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed)

4 cups low-salt chicken broth

3 cups whipping cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

7 bacon slices, cut crosswise 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 leeks)

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/4 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

6 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 tablespoons dry Sherry

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

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

Heat oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and saute until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons bacon drippings and add onion, leeks, celery and fennel seeds to pot. Sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes.

Discard cobs from cream mixture, and strain cream mixture into potato mixture. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn kernels.

Simmer chowder until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes longer. (Can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and chill bacon. Cool soup slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Melt butter in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Sherry and thyme. Add mushroom mixture to chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Saute crabmeat in same large skillet over medium-low heat just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide crabmeat, reserved bacon and parsley among bowls. Ladle chowder over and serve.

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