My go-to corn chowder has long been a Jacques Pepin recipe; a light milky soup with grated onion. But it's not a particularly hearty soup. Elegant and silky, yes—but it doesn't inhabit all that the word chowder has to offer, which has me craving thickness and heft. The other day I was searching for a recipe that didn't resort to heavy cream for the purpose, when I found this one from Wholeliving.com.
As promised, the result had a surprising creaminess, thanks to the melted cheese and pureed potato (opt for a waxy rather than floury potato to avoid glueyness), even though it's still milk-based. The cumin and coriander spicing proved to be a unique flavor profile for corn chowder, along with cayenne for a little heat; a splash of white wine brought a touch of sweetness.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
- 2 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
- Chopped scallions for garnish (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions and celery until soft, about 7 or 8 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, and cayenne, cooking for an additional 30 seconds until the spices are fragrant, then add the wine. Cook as the wine evaporates, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the potatoes, stock, and milk, and bring the soup to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and puree (or pass it through a food mill). Return to the pot and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and portion into bowls. Top with cheese and scallions, if desired.