Monday, July 7, 2008

Corn Cob Stock

I know. It's just a corn cob. No kernels. Doesn't look like much. But I promise you if you make this stock your eyebrows will disappear into your hairline and you will be magically transported to a gentle place where soft breezes bring the tantalizing aromas of a corn field on a warm summer's day to your nostrils. Or something very close.

It's for this very reason that I save and freeze corn cobs. As should you. Not for too long though. Do it now while corn is in season and use them for stock by fall.

Delicate and slightly sweet, this stock can be used in so many ways, from chowders to soufflés, from risotto to ice cream. Yes, ice cream. But that will be for another post.

Fresh farmers market ingredients went into the making of this elixir with a Neukom Farms Walla Walla onion adding a sweet top note. Freshly picked thyme sprigs deepened the flavors and of course the corn cobs made it all positively, deliciously corny.

This is it. Like the corn cob above, it doesn't look like much but just wait 'til you taste it. One more thing - freshly picked corn is always best but the reason I have corn cobs in the freezer is because I've already used the kernels in other recipes. But I'm sure you knew that already...

Christine's Corn Cob Stock
8 corn cobs (sweet white corn, please), kernels removed (see preparation below)
1 large Walla Walla onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, pared and coarsely chopped
6-8 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns
water to cover cobs, approx. 4 quarts
2 tablespoons (approx) kosher salt, or to taste
If you haven't already, cut the corn kernels from the cob like this: Place a cob upright in a deep bowl, large end resting on the bottom of the bowl. With a sharp knife, gently cut the kernels off by cutting straight down the cob, taking care to not cut too deeply as you will want to use the "milk" that is just beneath the kernels for other corny things in your repertoire.
Rotate the cob and continue to cut the kernels into the bowl. Repeat with the other cobs. The kernels will keep in a zip top bag in the fridge for about a day, so plan to use them, and the corn milk, right away (like in the corn chowder that's coming up.)
Place the cobs in a large stock pot with the chopped onions, carrots, thyme, bay and peppercorns. Cover with water, and bring to a gentle boil.
As soon as the water boils, lower the heat, add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and simmer for about 40 minutes to extract all the flavors. This is a delicate stock and should not be simmered for a long period of time.
Carefully strain the stock into another large pot, add more salt, or not, to your taste and let it cool to room temperature.

Cook's Notes:
This recipe yielded 3 quarts and 2 cups of stock. When the stock had cooled, I poured it, almost to the top, into several large, clean yogurt containers, placed plastic wrap directly onto the liquid, then snapped on lids and put them in the freezer.
This stock will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for several days. For fresh taste, plan to use the frozen stock within 4 months of making it.
To milk the corn cobs, run the back of a chef's knife up the cob from the large end up, rotating the cob to extract the milk all the way around. Save the milk separately from the corn kernels and use within a day or two.

Copyright © 2005-2008, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Oh Christine, you asked for it...this post makes me "corny"!

  2. I am saving this for later reference. I adore those onions: they are pretty and taste great.

  3. Dugh . . . like how simple is that and how very obviously good would that be as a base for corn chowder! "Corny" maybe corny but it's still good.

  4. Christine I think the Paper Chef is just up your alley!

  5. It will be fun to see what you do with it, Simona.

    Hey Tanna, The corn chowder is up next!
    I have a bit of time this summer for blogging events, so Paper Chef here I come!

  6. I remember the first time I made corn cob stock. ;-)


  7. Thank you. That's very resourceful!

  8. You're welcome Patsy.

    Paz! I finally see your comment a year plus after you left it! So sorry!

    And Simona, thanks so much for the link, which I just found out about today.

  9. Christine - can I use the husks?

  10. I'm not sure the husks would add much to the flavor, Regina, but give it a try. This is how great things are made!

  11. I am definitely going to make this corn cob stock next year. In fact, I blogged about it to remind myself. I'm not quite sure about the last thing you mention--running a knife up and down the cob to milk the kernels. When is that step done, and is it included in the stock?

  12. Hi Jimmy, Thanks for the visit and the link. I appreciate it.
    Milking a corn cob: To cut the kernels from the corn, you cut down from the top of the ear to the bottom, rotate and repeat until all the kernels are removed. When you have completed that task, use the back of your knife and run it up the cob, scraping the remaining parts of the corn kernels and their juices, rotate, repeat. You will be surprised at how much more will be extracted from each cob. I would use this in sautes, chowders, soups, stews, etc., but not in the corn stock as it will make the liquid cloudy.
    Hope this helps!


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