One of our favorite comfort foods in Maine was chowder – lobster chowder, clam chowder, shrimp chowder – you name it, they put it in a chowder up there.
Even though we brought home with us this craving for good chowder, we managed to leave all the good, fresh seafood up in Maine. So what’s the Georgian solution to this problem? Corn chowder, of course.
We also wanted to make a chowder that was somewhat “seasonal,” and we found a recipe over on Food 52 that did not disappoint. We followed the recipe with only some slight modifications (e.g., substituted sweet potatoes for russet potatoes) and the results were fabulous.
So let’s get started!
Summer Corn Chowder
- 6 medium ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
- 6 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 3 medium tomatoes, skins and seeds removed and diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups whipping cream, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk (we used skim)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
Cut the corn kernels off the cobs about halfway through their depth, then use the back of your knife to scrape the corn milk into the bowl as well.
Fry the bacon until extra crispy, set on a paper towel to drain, then crumble and set aside. Reserve the bacon drippings.
We used our Le Creuset 7 quart dutch oven (thanks Bill & Robin!!) for all the remaining steps in making this chowder, but you could probably use any large soup pot or large sauce pan.
In our dutch oven, we used about 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and sautéed the chopped onion over medium heat until golden, then added the diced jalapeño, bell pepper, and celery and cooked for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.
We then added the diced tomatoes, potatoes, salt, sugar, allspice, bay leaf, corn kernels and corn milk, stirring everything together and continued to cook over medium heat until the mixture began to “sizzle,” as the recipe states.
At this point, reduce the heat to low and cover, and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender. Then add the cream and milk, add about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and stir well. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. (We ended up adding probably another full teaspoon of salt.) Bring the entire mixture to just a slight boil, then serve immediately.
And don’t forget your garnish!
We served our chowder with freshly baked “no-knead” crusty bread, the perfect companion to this cream-based comfort food (we’ll talk more later about this lazy man’s solution to artisan bread).
This chowder is just rich enough, a bit heartier than your typical chowder, and really simple to whip up, especially if you do all of your dicing ahead of time. We just wish we could have thrown some freshly-caught Maine clams into the pot!
What’s your favorite type of chowder?