I’ve already posted a recipe for corn and potato chowder on this blog, but this one is entirely different and, frankly, way better. While the other version is still good, the flavors are like apples and oranges (not literally, of course). This recipe is one I developed myself with the goal of recreating my favorite ever corn chowder from a restaurant here in town. Since I won’t be able to enjoy it much longer, I wanted to try to make my own version of the chowder to make for years to come.
With that, I can finally share my big news: we’re moving to Chicago! I got a fantastic new job and I’m outta here in just three weeks. Crazy, right? I will definitely miss all of my favorite restaurants here, and my boyfriend and I have been going on a Farewell Food Tour to taste all of our favorite dishes one last time. I’m sure we’ll be back to visit someday, but since there’s no way of knowing when I’ll have my favorite corn chowder again, I made a point of trying to replicate the recipe.
It turned out so well that I’m not worried that I won’t be able to visit that restaurant again anytime soon. This chowder is perfectly light and summery, with a perfect creamy texture and sweetness from the corn, with an extra savory kick from the peppers and onions. Topped with cheddar cheese and green onions, it’s the perfect summer soup. It’s great served just warm rather than steaming hot, which makes it great for hot days when you can’t imagine slurping down a bowl of hot soup.
There’s a secret to this chowder: corn “milk.” No, it’s not a weird new organic-health-food-aisle milk that costs eight dollars an ounce. It’s actually the creamy liquid that’s inside the corn itself. I learned this trick from Claire Robinson—she has a great creamed corn recipe that doesn’t use any dairy at all; the cream simply comes from the corn milk. I took that idea and ran with it. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.
Your cast of characters is pretty simple. Onion (you actually only need one, ignore that second one), red bell pepper, four ears of sweet corn, potatoes (I used fingerling, any kind is fine), milk, chicken broth, green onions for topping, and a couple things that aren’t shown: cheddar cheese for topping, flour, and salt and pepper.
The first order of business is to cut all your corn off the cob. Don’t cut it down all the way to the cob—only cut off the “cheeks” of the kernels. By leaving a little bit of the stump on the cob, you’ll get more “milk.”
While you’re doing this, you can cook your potatoes. Wash them thoroughly, then cook in a microwave-safe vessel for eight to 10 minutes or until fork tender. When they’re done, you can pop off the skins (or leave them on if you prefer).
Now, “milk” the corn by running the back of your knife vigorously over the cob as you hold it over the bowl. Some white creamy liquid and some mushy corn remnants should come out. Then, once you feel you’ve exhausted the supply, you can literally pick up the cob and “milk” it with your hands. Just squeeze and wring it as you would a wet washcloth.
Now chop your onion and red pepper.
Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Throw in your onions and sauté for a couple minutes until soft and slightly translucent.
Now add your peppers and sauté for a minute.
Throw in your corn and all the corn “milk.”
I don’t have a picture of these steps (totally missed it for some reason), but it’s pretty simple. Mix three tablespoons of flour with a half cup of milk. Add to the corn mixture. Then add a cup and a half more of milk, then a cup and a fourth of chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for one minute. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes until thickened.
Chop your potatoes into bite-sized pieces, then add them to your soup.
Top with a tablespoon of cheddar cheese and some sliced green onions and serve!
I love this chowder! It’s super chunky and satisfying from the ample amounts of corn and potatoes. There’s a wonderful sweetness from the corn—and you simply must use fresh sweet corn for this. Canned or frozen corn wouldn’t even compare! The fresh crunch of the sweet corn is perfect. You can also add chicken or crab for an extra protein boost.
The restaurant version I’m imitating is probably made with copious amounts of butter and cream, and it’s also topped with buttery, garlicky croutons, but this is a really close imitation. Plus, it’s way healthier than anything you’ll find in a restaurant. And much cheaper too! Fresh sweet corn is crazy cheap this time of year, so definitely stock up and make a big batch of this chowder. Enjoy!
Summer Corn Chowder
4 ears sweet corn
1 lb. potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups lowfat milk
1 1/4 cup reduced fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Green onions, sliced, for topping
Reduced fat cheddar cheese, for topping
Thoroughly wash potatoes and pierce with a fork. Microwave for 8 to 10 minutes or until fork tender. When cool, remove skins if desired and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Working over a bowl, slice corn kernels off cob, using the back of a knife or your hands to squeeze out any additional liquid from the cob. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add red bell pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add corn and corn liquid, stir.
Whisk flour into 1/2 cup milk and add to corn mixture. Then, add the additional 1 1/2 cups milk and broth. Stir in salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in potatoes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Top with a tablespoon of cheddar cheese and green onions.