There’s nothing like a hearty winter soup to warm the soul and thaw us out on a cold February day. If you think there are only fishy chowders, think again. Here’s a brief introduction: the standard New England-style chowder includes fish or shellfish, pork, onions, potatoes and milk. The more bougie Manhattan-style chowder uses tomatoes instead of milk. Historically, chowders were a lot more varied. Meat or poultry chowders could be made with wine, spices, herbs, cider, and it was the norm to thicken the chowders with mashed crackers. In the Southern and Midwestern United States, fresh sweet corn (maize) often replaces the clams in chowder.
Ultimately, the simpler the ingredients, the faster you’re enjoying a bowl. Here’s our current favourite corn chowder recipe from Food & Wine.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 scallions, white bulbs and green tops chopped and reserved separately
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 pound (about 3) boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 to 8 ears), divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (quart) can of low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Sour cream, for serving (optional)
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add scallion bulbs, bell pepper, and celery, and cook. Stir occasionally, until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in potatoes, 2 cups corn, bay leaf, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- In a blender, food processor or hand blender, puree remaining 2 cups corn with milk.
- Stir puree into soup along with black pepper. Simmer until soup thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and stir in scallion greens. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream if using.
Frozen Corn Variation: If you want to use frozen corn, puree two cups of it with the milk as directed above, and add the remaining two cups to the soup along with the puree. Since the corn is already cooked, it might toughen if it goes in earlier. You can add a pinch of sugar as well if you like.