Summer Corn Chowder
Chowder. It’s something I think of when I think of fall. Or New England. Or Seattle, where we had some of the best clam chowder ever at Pike Place Market. But chowder in the summer? It never really crossed my mind – until now.
Making soup in 90-degree heat may not exactly be your ideal summer meal, but this corn chowder does not disappoint, and is such a great way to utilize some of the delicious sweet corn that’s in abundance this time of year.
I came across this recipe totally by accident – I was leafing through old Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines that have been lovingly stuffed in with all my other cookbooks for the past several years trying to find a specific recipe for deep dish Chicago Style pizza that I had been wanting to try for ages (don’t worry – I’ll be posting that soon once I get it just right!). As I was thumbing through the pages, I stumbled upon this recipe for summer corn chowder and thought - sure, I’ll give it a shot.
Are you familiar with Cooks Illustrated or Cooks Country? They’re basically the magazine for America’s Test Kitchen, and they literally test hundreds of combinations and techniques for every recipe until they get it just right. While Cooks Illustrated recipes tend to be a bit more in-depth or complicated, Cooks Country recipes are relatively simple. And Cooks Country has color photos, a big plus for the magazine, in my opinion. But, I like them both, and if you’re looking for a no fail recipe, they’re definitely a great place to find it.
This is the best soup for hot weather because it just tastes like summer. The sweet corn mixed with the spices and cream, then topped off with fresh summer garnishes like chives, parsley – seriously yummy. It comes together pretty fast, and uses basic ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand. This corn chowder paired perfectly with a light flatbread and a side salad.
Summer Corn Chowder
(from Cooks Illustrated)
6 ears corn
2 15 oz cans whole kernel corn, drained
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 slices bacon, copped fine
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½ inch diced
1 cup heavy cream
4 scallions, sliced thin
Prep your corn. Cut the kernels from the ears of corn, and set aside the kernels and husks separately.
Puree the canned corn and 2 cups of broth in a blender until smooth.
Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve for later. Don’t drain the bacon fat!
Cook onion, corn kernels, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in the bacon fat until soft and golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.
Add the potatoes, corn puree, remaining broth, and cobs to your pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer soup until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. (Note: Many recipes call for preparing corn soup with a corn stock, which is made from boiling the husks in a mixture of water, onions, and other spices, depending on your recipe. This recipe simplifies that process by throwing the husks directly into the soup, then discarding them later.)
Discard the corn husks and stir in the cream, scallions, and reserved bacon.
Serve and enjoy!