A chowder almost always signals the presence of potatoes, and a hearty creamy-chunky texture. This corn chowder has an added appeal: a lovely pale yellow color. Make this soup only with fresh corn please, when it is tender and sweet.
This corn chowder packs a great flavor punch, and needs no help from dairy ingredients. But just in case you might want to splurge on an occasional dairy meal, throw in 2 cups freshly grated cheddar.
Did you know the cobs impart great flavor to soup? I am including a fish as well as a chicken variation.
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 4 leeks, white parts only, sliced
- 4 ribs celery, peeled
- 6 large cloves garlic
- 1 bunch dill, fronds and stems
- 2 yellow peppers, cut in large chunks
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels, from about 6 ears corn (Reserve the stripped cobs.)
- 3 quarts (12 cups) water
- 2 large potatoes, cut in small cubes
- 2 cups dry white wine
- Good pinch saffron
- 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground
- 1 cup white miso paste, a little more if the finished soup needs to taste saltier
- 4 cups milk or dairy-free milk, low-fat OK
- Good pinch nutmeg
- Pinch cayenne
- Ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups grated cheddar, optional
Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. In a food processor, coarsely grind the leeks, celery, garlic, dill, and peppers. Add the ground mixture to the hot oil and sauté until translucent. Add the corn, water, reserved cobs, potatoes, wine, saffron and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook covered for 30 minutes. Whisk in the miso, milk, nutmeg , cayenne, and pepper and cook 2–3 more minutes until just hot—do not boil or it might curdle. Discard the cobs. With an immersion blender, directly in the pot, purée about a third of the soup, leaving the rest chunky. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Serve hot. Makes a dozen ample servings.
- Tomato corn chowder : Reduce the water to 8 cups and add 4 cups canned crushed tomatoes; cook as above.
- Corn fish chowder: Use either the basic corn chowder or the tomato corn chowder recipe; throw in about 2-4 cups small salmon cubes after puréeing the soup, and cook 10 more minutes. No optional cheddar.
- Corn chicken chowder : Use the basic corn chowder recipe: throw in 3-4 cups diced chicken breasts after puréeing the soup, and cook 10 more minutes. No question of the cheddar here.