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.
Why this recipe works:
- Blending heavy cream with whole milk produces a broth that's luxurious but still lighter than traditional cream-only chowders.
- Adding a Parmesan rind during the cooking process helps build flavor.
- Potatoes and a small amount of flour help thicken the soup without making it pasty.
Note: The soup can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. However, it's best to make the croutons just before serving.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 2 ounces finely chopped pancetta
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 ears of corn, shucked, kernels cut off cobs with a sharp knife
- 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cubed rustic bread
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and half of garlic and cook, stirring, until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add pancetta and continue to cook until pancetta is lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
Stir in potatoes and flour until thoroughly combined. Add stock, cream, and milk. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer and cook chowder until potatoes soften and broth starts to thicken, about 7 minutes.
Add corn, Parmesan rind, if using, thyme, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until corn is tender but juicy, about 10 minutes longer.
While soup is simmering, combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil with remaining garlic, mashing garlic with back of a spoon or tines of a fork. Toss garlic oil with the bread and season with salt and pepper. Place croutons in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, tossing once during cooking, until lightly browned and crunchy, about 8 minutes.
Discard Parmesan rind, woody stems from thyme, and bay leaves. Ladle chowder into bowls. Garnish with croutons and chopped chives and serve immediately.