It’s starting to feel like summer is definitely in full swing! I’m finding myself passing out otter pops to my kids and their friends on a daily basis – and maybe having a few myself (one of my favorite childhood treats, how could I resist?). I’m enjoying relaxing in the warm suns rays. The store is finally full of good fresh produce and I’ve already been getting flavorful, sweet corn on the cob – none of that worthless dried up stuff that looks like it has nothing left to give and it’s highly lacking in flavor. So what does that mean? Time for all the fresh corn recipes like this incredibly delicious Corn Chowder!
This soup is amazing but key to it is really good corn on the cob because it’s the prominent flavor here and most important part of this soup. I don’t think I’d ever use frozen corn unless it’s winter and you’re really craving it and you use frozen fresh corn which was from your garden or the farmers market.
I adapted this recipe with slight changes from Cook’s Illustrated. In their recipe they call for shaving off the remaining corn bits with a vegetable peeler after cutting the kernels from the cobs. Then from there you have to wrap it in a cloth and squeeze out the juice. First of all I found it a huge pain and a big mess and if I would have finished I wouldn’t have only ended up with half the amount of juice called for. Secondly, I found an alternate method that was much easier, just cut the kernels from two extra cobs of corn, add to a food processor and pulse until pureed then force through a fine strainer and you should get about 1/2 cup juice. But last of all, after finishing the soup I found it had plenty of corn flavor and everything seemed perfectly balanced so I didn’t even end up adding in that corn juice I’d extracted, so I figured it’s not worth the extra effort. Who knows maybe that’s just personal opinion, but I thought the honey I added to the recipe (in place of the sugar they had listed) gave it the perfect touch of sweetness so the sweetness from the added juice wasn’t even needed.
I love how the bacon in this soup perfectly compliments the light natural sweetness of the corn, while the potatoes give it some body and creaminess. Then the final garnish of chives gives this soup the perfect little bite they need, so don’t omit them. This is the perfect summer soup and once you try a bowlful you’ll want to head back for another serving and then you’ll want to continue to make it all summer long!
Summer Corn Chowder
Yield: 6 servings
- 8 ears fresh sweet yellow corn , husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 5 slices bacon , cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 5 cups water
- 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 - 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- Shredded cheddar cheese , for serving (optional)
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in 5 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes. Add in thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove bay leave then transfer 2 1/2 cups of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir the mixture back into the pot then stir in half and half and honey. Sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.
Recipe source: adapted from Cooks Illustrated via Tracy's Culinary Adventures