With sweet, fresh corn, still available at the local farmers market, we just couldn’t resist trying our hands at some fresh corn chowder.
The recipe is adapted from one by Mitchell Davis in Kitchen Sense and is full of flavor. The original recipe calls for a strip of bacon, but you can add a little bacon fat instead, if you have some on hand, or just add a little more butter.
For vegetarian option, omit the bacon and use 2 Tbsps of butter instead.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 strip bacon, or 1 teaspoon bacon fat
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup small diced carrot
- 1/2 cup small diced celery
- 4-5 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved (see steps for taking corn off the cob)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large (1-inch) diced (about 3 cups)
- 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 Cook the bacon: Place butter and bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon renders its fat, 3-4 minutes.
2 Add the onions, bell pepper, carrot, celery: Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, and celery, lower the heat to medium low and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
3 Add corn cobs (stripped of corn), milk, bay leaf to pot, simmer: Break the corn cobs in half (after you've stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the "warm" setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.
4 Add potatoes, salt, thyme: After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, salt, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
5 Discard cobs, bacon, bay leaf, then add corn, black pepper: Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and black pepper. Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Add more salt and pepper to taste.