Corn chowder with bacon dippers
Creamy corn chowder served with crispy bacon dippers is like sunshine in a bowl. And dipping crispy bacon into it? Just genius.
Whether you are heading into summer with all its wonderful produce and bright, sunny days or into winter with its comfort food, scarves and fluffy blankets, corn chowder is always a good idea. How can a bowl filled with sunshine ever be a bad idea? And that is exactly what corn chowder is. Edible sunshine.
I’ve been wanting to make corn chowder forever and finally got around to it a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to celebrate the last of the really good corn we get in summer but wanted it to be comforting and warming as well. Chowder was the best of both worlds. I also love how absolutely simple chowder is to throw together, even though it might not seem it at first glance. The key to getting the most of the corn flavour though is to make a stock from the fresh corn cobs. I boiled the shucked corn until cooked through then removed them from the water, sliced the kernels off the cobs and returned the cobs to the cooking water with bay leaves, a sliced onion, white peppercorns and smoked salt. This I allowed to simmer and reduce for around 20-30 minutes until all the flavour was sucked out of the cobs. I have to thank Serious Eats for this tip as it made all the difference to the finished chowder.
After straining the stock, I returned the pot to the heat and sweated off some onions, garlic, potatoes and the corn kernels in copious amounts of butter before adding back the stock. This again simmered for a while and I then added milk, a squeeze of lemon for brightness and more seasoning before blending half of the soup to create serious creaminess. And then came the genius part. I served the soup with crispy bacon dippers. Because bacon. And because if dipping crispy, fatty, salty bacon into sweet, creamy chowder doesn’t make your mouth water, who even are you? Serve this chowder in generous portions topped with a dollop of sour cream, a few sprigs of parsley and some thinly sliced chilli for heat. You can thank me later.
- 6 ears of corn, shucked
- corn cobs
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons smoked salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- corn kernels
- 4 cups corn stock
- 2 cups full cream (whole) milk
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- crispy bacon
- sour cream
- chilli (optional)
- Boil the shucked corn in a large pot of water until cooked.
- Remove the corn then cut off the kernels. Set the kernels aside and return the corn cobs to the pot of water with the onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt.
- Allow to simmer and reduce for 30 minutes then drain and set aside.
- Return the pot to the heat then melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and allow to sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and corn and sauté for a further 10 minutes before adding the corn stock.
- Allow the chowder to simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Add the milk, lemon juice and season to taste.
- Transfer half of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth. If you prefer, you can strain this mixture back in the pot but I don't mind the texture of the blended chowder so I omit this step.
- Pour the blended chowder back into the pot with the remaining soup then check the seasoning and adjust.
- Serve the chowder topped with a dollop of sour cream, parsley and chilli (if using) and serve with crispy bacon dippers.