Yes we are! Fresh summer white corn in fact, and LOTS of it. Though warmer weather prevails, this doesn’t mean we can’t make one sweet pot of corn chowder, I rustled up some fresh ears and got a serious shucking session in motion! Sweet white corn is one of my favorites to add to salads, roast on the grill, even eat plain! I made a roasted corn-zucchini-onion mix for our salsa verde tacos a couple of weeks back. Since then, I’ve been hooked on the corn from my local market.
I had an abundance of fresh ears on-hand and wanted to try something different. So, I decided to create a rustic white corn chowder with some basic ingredients, and so glad I did! The day ended a little cloudy by the coast, and a slowly simmering pot of soup was the perfect addition to the evening. Not to mention how amazing the house smelled in the process.
I decided to go with a basic chicken stock, and base of sautéed potato, onion, garlic, celery and carrot. To this base we’re adding our fresh corn kernels, thyme, and finishing with a little half-and-half, sharp 4-cheeese blend and a lil’ bacon—it was a must! This is lighter than some chowders, as I used only a small amount of fat-free half-and-half. I decided to add cheese, but not a large quantity. You could easily omit the cheese & bacon entirely for a lighter recipe, but I couldn’t bring myself to skip them this batch . . . my willpower hath forsaken me.
A large dutch oven and good chef’s knife is all you’ll need to get this ready! Easy enough, and now I can give my retro corn-holders the night off, let’s get the pot on the stove. . . .
Sweet white summer corn makes for a delicious lighter chowder, and we don’t have to wait unit winter to have our soup! Flavorful with accents of thyme and bacon.
What to get:
- 7 ears fresh white corn, kernels cut off cobs
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 1/2 large sweet white onion, chopped finely
- 1 large carrot, chopped finely (or 2 small carrots depending)
- 4 ribs celery, chopped finely
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1, 32 oz carton low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 T butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup fat free Half-and-Half
- 7.5 oz sharp 4 cheese blend, shredded (or less if preferred)
- 5 strips low-sodium bacon, for crisping, topping and reserving drippings
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped smaller
- fresh thyme sprigs for garnish & sautéing
- 1-2 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
- 1-2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar
What to do:
- Cut corn kernels off cobs, set aside.
- Preheat a large dutch oven, or enameled cast iron soup pot, melt 1T of the butter and crisp all 5 strips of bacon, chopped.
- Once bacon is crisp, remove from pot & drain on paper towels, setting aside for garnish.
- Reserving bacon drippings, to pot add chopped potato and sauté on medium for about 6 min, stirring often.
- To pot now add onion, garlic, celery, carrot, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 T butter.
- Sauté mix adding 1/2 cup of the chicken stock carton and a few thyme sprigs (will remove later), for about 10-15 minutes.
- Once mixture is tender, remove thyme sprigs, add the corn kernels, chopped thyme, paprika, rest of chicken stock and bring to a slow boil with lid on.
- Once beginning to boil, remove lid and reduce heat to low, continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, then add white wine.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- Remove hot pot from heat and allow to cool substantially, then slowly add some of the half-and- half and some cheese, return pot to low heat, stirring well (Soup will begin to thicken).
- Gradually add more half-and-half, cheese, salt & pepper as desired.
- Add the red wine vinegar if you feel a little acid is necessary; I did and it worked well!
- Continue to simmer on very low until ready to serve & eat!
- Garnish with bacon and fresh thyme sprig.
This is not difficult luckily, but requires a lot of prep chopping and stirring from time to time. It stores really well in the fridge too! Sweet white corn is the only I would use, so this one is probably best to make in summertime when sweet corn is abundant & inexpensive! This is a thinner style chowder, but you can make it thicker by adding more potato which will provide starch, or adding flour into your roux. Mine thickened considerably because I left it on the stove a very long time. Enjoy!
from the kitchen of www.dinnervine.com
The hardest part of this is husking the corn (or shucking it, I’m never certain which I’m doing), but it’s a small price to pay for how satisfying this tastes. Actually, a friend recently shared husk removal tip, so here’s the video link (going to give this a go next batch)— shucking corn on speed! Another variation I like is to add fresh lump crab meat. Since the corn is so sweet and the crab is also, they marry well together. This soup isn’t thick like a heavy chowder, but in between (which during warmer months prefer the lighter texture). The potato breaks down as it cooks, and that plus the cheese provide our thickener (especially the longer it simmers). If you want a heartier chowder, add some flour into your initial roux (before adding the stock), or even add some more potatoes. This is a fantastic one-pot meal, though a nice spinach salad & warm sourdough bread would go well along side.
The good news is this dish turned out great. The better news is I made enough for leftovers, so I’m off the hook tonight!