The Best Corn Chowder

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The key to great corn flavor in this simple chowder is making a quick corn stock from the cobs of the fresh corn and using it as the base for the soup.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

The Best Corn Chowder

The recipe box is closed. Read about why and how to export your data »

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 3 quarts, serving 6 to 8
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
Special equipment:Immersion or countertop blender
This recipe appears in: Make This Pitch-Perfect Corn Chowder Before Time Runs Out From the Archives: The Best Corn Chowder The Food Lab Lite: The Best Corn Chowder
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 1/2 quarts low sodium canned or homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups diced potato)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sugar
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced

Procedures

  1. 1

    Hold one corn cob upright in a large bowl and cut off kernels with a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining cobs and reserve kernels and cobs separately.

  2. 2

    Use the back of a knife to scrape corn cobs into a medium saucepan to collect and milk left in the bases of the kernels. Break corn cobs in half and add to saucepan. Add chicken or vegetable stock, bay leaf, fennel seed, coriander seed, and whole black peppercorns. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to just below a simmer, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard cobs and spices.

  3. 3

    While stock infuses, melt butter in a separate 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and corn kernels, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and kernels are tender, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat if butter begins to brown. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

  4. 4

    Stirring constantly, gradually add infused corn stock, letting mixture come to a simmer. Add potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add half and half and stir to combine. Soup may look broken with melted butter floating on top at this stage.

  5. 5

    Transfer 1/4 of soup to a blender and blend on high heat until smooth, about 1 minute. Return to pot and whisk to combine. Alternatively, use a hand blender to blend in the pot until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar (with very fresh picked corn, sugar should not be necessary). Serve immediately, sprinkled with sliced scallions.

Comments

Add a rating with your comment:

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: