Farmer’s Markets are now open and the abundance of fresh produce is everywhere including a favorite, sweet corn. Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas fresh corn was seldom found except in the height of summer months, now it’s widely available the better part of the year. Additionally, food markets carry a variety of frozen, high quality organic brands bringing the flavor of fresh corn to you year round.
In our family soup is frequently on the menu no matter the temperature outside. At a recent dinner party I decided to serve a “soup dinner”. We have friends with varying preferences so the challenge was finding several soups to hit the mark and please everyone in the crowd. The menu featured a trio of soups, including this corn chowder, plus French onion and a hearty vegetable soup. (I’ll share those recipes later!) All can be made in advance which makes hosting dinner guests a bit easier. I’ve repeated this dinner menu on several occasions, switching out different soups depending on the season – or my mood!
This recipe for corn chowder is a blend of various recipes that I’ve tried and tweaked. If fresh corn is in season, by all means use it. (There’s an easy method for roasting corn in our previous posts.)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced, about ¾ cup
3-4 stalks of celery, diced, about 1 cup
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups potatoes, new or russet, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons concentrated chicken bouillon
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon sugar
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
2 cups kernel corn, fresh roasted or frozen
2 cans cream style corn, each about 14.75 ounces
2 cups half-n-half
In a large stockpot melt 4 tablespoons butter and the olive oil. Add the diced onions and celery cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Toss the remaining butter into the pan and once it’s melted add the flour blending well. The flour will help thicken the soup. Add the diced potatoes to the mixture, toss to coat all the vegetables and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
Slowly stir in the chicken broth, chicken bouillon, thyme, sugar, kosher salt and pepper into the pan, blending well.
Cover and simmer until the potatoes are completely cooked. Add the corn and half-n-half, cooking over low heat until warmed through, stirring frequently to prevent the corn from sticking. If you prefer a thicker consistency, mix an additional 2 tablespoons flour with 1 cup half-n-half or chicken broth in a jar or lidded container, shaking well to dissolve the flour. Slowly stir into the soup, cook for an additional 15 minutes. (Always dissolve flour in a cold or cool liquid. Never add flour directly to a hot liquid or you’ll have lumps.)