Sunday Supper: Creamy Corn Chowder With Pancetta and Chives

Sunday Supper

Cooking projects for people who'd like nothing more than to spend a sunday afternoon surrounded by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen.

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Corn chowder, flecked with pancetta, is made with a secret flavor weapon: a rind of Parmesan. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

There's no reason to give up soup just because warm weather has arrived. Rather, it's a great way to showcase the season's best. Case in point: this savory-sweet, luxuriously creamy corn chowder that's studded with pancetta and finished with garlicky croutons.

Although it's relatively effortless—the flavor base is built around onions, garlic and herbs—tossing in a rind of Parmesan, as you might when making minestrone, adds nuance and depth, including a subtle nutty flavor.

Some versions of corn chowder incorporate lots of heavy cream, but that results in a heavy soup, especially for this time of year. So, I've instead chosen a blend of cream and whole milk, which I thicken with both flour and starchy potatoes. (To prevent clumping, I stir the flour into the sautéed veggies and oil, just like making a roux.)

Once I've added the milk and cream, I simmer the potatoes in the broth, then add fresh-shucked corn, imparting its gentle sweetness. My final touch is homemade garlic croutons, made from day-old bread.

Before serving, discard the Parmesan rind and herbs. Then, simply ladle the chowder into bowls, top with those crunchy croutons and some snipped chives and go to town.