Corn Chowder

A chef friend of mine once said, “Anybody can make a dish taste good with butter and cream.” He’s right. So in developing this corn chowder recipe I gave myself the challenge: make it creamy and flavorful…. without cream. Pureed corn not only made it possible to eliminate dairy, it also meant I didn’t need a thickener either. So take advantage of end-of-the-season corn and try this hearty, yet light summer soup.

Creamless Grilled Corn Chowder with Peppers and Cilantro

Makes a generous 2 quarts

8 ears husked corn, 4 ears left whole, kernels cut from remaining 4 ears and cobs scraped to release corn juice
1 large onion, peeled and sliced very thick
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 pound new potatoes potatoes halved
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 quart chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish

Brush 4 ears of the corn, the onion, bell pepper, and potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Puree cut and scraped corn in a blender (you should have about 2 cups).

Meanwhile, heat gas grill igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate with an oil-soaked rag. Place vegetables on hot grate making sure to place potatoes cut side down.  Cook until spotty brown, about 5 minutes for the potatoes (no need to turn) and about 10 minutes (turning once) for the corn, onions, and pepper. Remove vegetables from the grill; set aside until cool enough to handle.  Chop potatoes and onions, and cut corn from cob.

Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large soup kettle over medium-high heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add thyme and then corn puree; cook until it begins to bubble. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil; add vegetables, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until flavors blend, about five minutes, adding water if necessary to desired thickness. Stir in cilantro. Ladle into bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves.

10 Comments

  1. says

    Just found out about your recipes in USA Weekend
    magazxineand They all sound delicous. Can’t wait
    to try them. Just keep them coming. I will check the website every week. Thanks..

  2. says

    Funny I just tore the recipe out of the USA Weekend magazine to make today…and then saw your post. I think it’s karma that I need to make it.
    One tip on making corn soup you can always put the corn cobs (after cutting the corn off) into the pot that you are making broth….it adds a lot of flavor. Just be sure to remove them before serving!

  3. Magali Ruiz says

    So delicious! Mine didn’t come out as pretty but that’s probably because I nearly burned the bacon so it made the color of the soup darker. Nevertheless, the flavor was absolutely wonderful. Can’t wait to do it again – without burning the bacon :)

  4. RIchard says

    This sounds great. If in a hurry, I was wondering if it’s possible to make this this with less prep time: frozen corn, perhaps not grilling the vegetables –

    • says

      If you’re in a hurry there’s almost always a way to shave time off a recipe. Certainly using frozen corn and skipping the grilling step would save time, but you will be giving up the smokey flavor.

  5. gail says

    You can also make this a shove-it-in-the-oven soup by putting all the vegetables on a big sheet pan and roasting them until they brown up a bit on the edges. It won’t have that smoky taste from the grill, but the flavors all concentrate and it is yummy!!!

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