Whether they’ve been boiled, barbecued or roasted, spent corn cobs are bursting with flavour and good for all sorts of other dishes, including corn cob ice-cream and today’s sweet and umami-rich stock that can be used in soups, gumbos, risottos or to cook grains such as rice, quinoa or polenta; they can also be used instead of wood chips for smoking meat.
Corn cob stock is particularly sweet, aromatic and intense, and perfect for taking all kinds of dishes to the next level. My favourite way to use it is in a Colombian-style chicken-and-potato one-pot meal called sancocho de pollo: to make a meal for four, boil four chicken thighs in a litre of stock made with cobs saved in the freezer from the last time you ate corn. Add a fresh corn cob cut into rounds, a sliced onion, two cubed sweet potatoes and some chopped coriander, and, after an hour, once everything is tender, it’s ready to serve.
Corn cob stock
Spent corn cobs harbour masses of flavour that is a shame to waste. A simple stock extracts any remaining nutrients and can be served simply as a broth or upcycled into any number of delicious dishes. To reduce energy consumption, use a slow cooker or pressure cooker, which cuts the cooking time in three.
Spent corn cobs
Vegetable trimmings – celery butts, pea pods, carrot tops, peelings, herb stalks, onion skins, etc
Chicken bones (optional)
Put the spent corn cobs in a saucepan in which they fit snugly. Add any other veg trimmings and scraps you have to hand, and a few chicken bones, if using, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for an hour. Turn off the heat, leave to steep until cool, then strain and refrigerate. Use within a week. Season and serve as a broth, or use to make any number of corn-flavoured dishes.