There’s that transition period between “so hot that you gotta wring out the sweat from your underwear” to “Oh my god! I gotta get something wooly on my head! Where’s the nearest sheep?!?” At that point corn is usually headed to the end of its season, so a chowder is a natural. Warming and sweet from the corn and it reminds you of the sweet summer air as the air starts to chill around you and comforts you along the way.
I made a couple of chowders recently because, once upon a time, I made tons of it at a local fish shop. It was a creamy blend of seafood that was a kind of “heat n eat” thing for people to take home. The recipe morphs depending on the weather and what is seasonal.
The other chowder I made recently was a vegetable corn chowder. In place of cream, I did a purée of caramelized onions and potato. With a load of other veggies with the corn, it had the sweet creaminess of a regular creamy chowder without the heaviness.
If I were to be particular this is actually one part Quebecois potage and one part chowder because of the nature of the vegetable purée, but we can call it chowder….unless you’re this guy:
“Chowda! C’mon say it!!”
Vegetable Corn Chowder
For the Corn Stock:
Cobs from 2 large ears of corn (kernels removed and reserved. The volume of kernels should amount to about 2 cups)
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
6 cups cold water
In a large pot, add the corn cobs, onion, celery and cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain, reserve the liquid and discard the solids.
For the chowder:
2 tsp oil
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
2 stalks celery, finely chopped4 cups Corn Stock
450g/1 lb potatoes, diced into small cubes
100g/4 oz fresh broccoli florets
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 large sweet red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels (reserved from the cobs used in the stock)
1 tsp salt
In a large pot over medium high heat, add the oil, onions and 1 tsp salt. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onions soften and start to brown, reduce heat to medium and continue to sauté, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as is needed. Add a few tablespoons of water periodically if the onions start to stick too much. Continue to cook and stir until the onions become deeply caramelized. It’ll take about 25-30 minutes total. (It’s a good idea to get the Corn Stock going just before caramelizing the onions, that way, both will be ready at about the same time).
Add the celery and sauté for 4-5 minutes to soften. Add the prepared Corn Stock and potatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a regular blender in batches. Bring the soup back to a simmer, add the broccoli, carrots, bell pepper and corn. Cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Season with more salt if desired. Serves 6-8.