Creamy Corn Chowder
I’m still seeing lots of fresh local corn at the grocery store and market so I was excited to make this corn chowder. It is a fabulous soup whether you use fresh or frozen corn. I am and always have been a fan of corn chowder and any chowder for that matter. I love the creaminess of the soup and the sweetness of the corn. Its also one of those soups that you can make your own – it’s so versatile!
This particular soup is one of my favorite ways to eat corn chowder. The roux is the perfect way of adding thickness, richness and lots of flavour to the base of the soup without having to use a ton of potatoes or other starches to do so. I don’t mind some potatoes in mine either, but making a roux really helps the versatility of the soup – you don’t have to rely on adding other starches to make it nice and thick. Instead you could add more veggies like the cauliflower I added or you can even add in some parsnip too. I roasted my cauliflower because I love the nutty flavor it adds to the cauliflower and to the soup, but you can add it to the soup raw and just allow it to cook in the broth if it’s easier for you. But it is worth the extra time of roasting it — you won’t regret it.
The roux or flour-butter mixture picks up the flavours from all the brown bits at the bottom of the pot and incorporates them into the broth of the soup. You can definitely use a gluten free flour instead of an AP (all purpose) flour for it too. Further adding to the thickening of the soup is blending a cup or two of it in the blender or food processor when it’s done and adding it back to the soup. This is something I love to do, but is completely optional.
The addition of the bacon gives the soup lots of extra flavour, some salty briney flavour that I love. Adding the shrimp makes this soup a complete meal and adds even a further dimension of flavour. If you want more of the seafood flavours to shine you can use fish stock instead of chicken broth or water and you can even use frozen white fish in it cut into pieces. It doesn’t have to be shrimp and shrimp alone you can add other seafood to it or omit it all together. You can make this a meatless corn chowder and still get yourself a beautiful soup so don’t fret if you’re vegan or vegetarian. You can also use olive oil in place of the butter when making the roux to help in that regard also.
Adding the dairy to the soup after really helps amp up the creaminess of this soup and adds a richness to it like nothing else. I stick to full fat milk but you can go even further by using heavy cream or cooking cream in place of it for an even creamier, dreamier soup. The heavy cream is a little rich for me and that’s why I stick to the full fat milk. If you want to keep it dairy free no problem. You can achieve a wonderful flavour and creaminess by using coconut milk or cream. A wonderful substitute!
You see what I mean about the soup being versatile! That’s the wonderful thing about soup in general. The real star and cornerstone of this soup is the corn. It adds the most amazing sweetness to the chowder. If you are looking for a basic corn chowder recipe this most definitely a fabulous one that you can build on and make your own according to your own personal flavour preferences and dietary needs! Hope you give it a go!
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 medium sized head of cauliflower cut into small florets
- 1 tbsp of olive oil plus two more
- 6 pieces of bacon sliced (omit if vegetarian)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter (sub olive oil)
- 3 tbsp AP flour (sub GF flour)
- 4 cups chicken broth or broth of your choice
- 2 medium sized carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 medium sized stalks of celery chopped
- 6 cups of frozen of fresh corn kernels (include any juices/milk scraped off from fresh kernels if using)
- 2 cups full fat milk or for a heavier creamier chowder switch this to cooking cream (sub coconut milk)
- 1 lb of uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp (omit if vegetarian)
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 ° F
On a baking sheet toss the cauliflower with 1tbsp of olive oil and spread them out on sheet and bake until golden approx 15-20min and once done remove from oven and set aside
Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy bottom pot (Dutch oven) at medium high and add the bacon and sauté until lightly browned (the bottom of the pot will brown too and that is ok)
Then add the onion, garlic and thyme and sauté another couple of minutes until softened and translucent
Turn down the heat to medium and add the butter and stir and scrape bottom of pot until the butter is melted
Now add and whisk in the flour to make a roux continue to whisk until the flour is completely combined with the butter and starts to thicken and darkens to a golden colour
Add the broth and whisk until complete incorporated and smooth with no lumps
Add the cauliflower, carrots, celery, and corn and bring everything to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the veggies are nice and tender approx 10-15min
Stir in the milk and then cover and let it simmer for a couple of minutes
Carefully remove approx 2 cups of the soup and transfer to blender of food processor and blend until smooth and then pour it back into the soup for an extra rich texture (optional)
Stir in the shrimp and cover and cook for approx 5 minutes until shrimp are cooked through and then serve hot.
Adapted by thekitchn