Corn Chowder

Chowders, a sort of hybrid between stew and purée, often feature seafood, starch and copious amounts of cream, a cozy bowl of warmth during wet, cold winters. But despite our famously foggy summers here in San Francisco, slurping through a rich New England-style fish chowder strikes me as heavy and leaden and just too much, no matter how damp the days might be. The perfect compromise between sunny summer produce and less-than-summery weather? You’re looking at it: corn chowder.

It’s warm, for one thing, with the bright summer flavor of farm stand corn. And with bits of bacon and an underlying creaminess from half-and-half, it’s satisfying without the sluggishness, a soup that calls for a side of perky sliced tomatoes or a BLT. Use canned corn for a smooth purée (it’ll break down far better than fresh or frozen) and fresh kernels for full, end-of-summer corn flavor.

Corn Chowder
adapted from the Best of America’s Test Kitchen, 2010; serves about 8 and halves easily

  • 6 ears of sweet corn, shucked
  • 2 (15 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 4 C (32 oz) chicken broth
  • 3 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb red potatoes (about 3), scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 C half-and-half or cream
  • 2 Tbsp chives, minced
  • salt and pepper

Cut the bottoms off each corncob to create a flat surface. Place perpendicular to your worksurface; run your knife down each side of the cob to remove the kernels. Discard the cobs. In a blender (or in batches in a food processor), purée the canned corn with 2 C of broth until smooth.

In a dutch oven over medium heat, crisp the bacon, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Cook the onion, fresh corn kernels, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in the bacon grease until they soften, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, corn purée, 2 C broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half, chives and bacon. Taste and correct the salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm.

Note: the chowder can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, for about three days. I found teeny little tri-color potatoes that I sliced in half for this recipe.

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About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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4 Responses to Corn Chowder

  1. Stephanie says:

    Great recipe! Corn chowder is one of my favorite soups. It’s so hearty and filling! And any soup with bacon is winner!

  2. kita says:

    I am a sucker for a great chowder though they always fill me up super quick! Which is probably a good thing, given all that cream! This sounds wonderful!

  3. Tom C says:

    Great timing for this recipe. I was just starting to look for a good corn chowder when this popped up. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks.

  4. Your chowder looks amazing! It’s such a great comfort food, isn’t it?

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