Because of the abundance of fresh produce in mid- to late-summer, we find ourselves gravitating to certain vegetables which have a limited growing season, one being sweet corn on the cob. It finds its way to our dinner table often as a side dish: hot, buttered and eaten right off the cob. But occasionally, we want to make it the star of the show, such as in this Smoky, Sweet Corn Chowder recipe. And September is synonymous with THE BEST, when corn reigns king.
Using corn sliced right off the cob, diced potatoes and veggies this easy chowder is finished with a bit of cream, a skosh of white wine and crispy bacon crumbles. Don’t throw the cobs away after removing the kernels, instead, add them to the broth to get even more of their milky goodness into the chowder.
We changed things up a bit, no surprise there. The original recipe called for 5 cups of water. Since we had some homemade ham stock in the freezer, we substituted that (and upped the quantity by 1 cup) for the water which of course adds tons of flavor. Then, figuring we would get more taste and substance from andouille sausage than ham hocks we made that switcharoo too.
Lastly, our bicolored ears of corn were not large so I added 6 ears worth, after all, it is the star of the show here. Because it all comes together fairly quickly when the cooking starts, prep the vegetables for the chowder before you begin cooking. All the chopping—that’s the most time-intensive part of the process. But oh so worth it, because corn reigns supreme and is crowned the king in this recipe.
Smoky Sweet Corn Chowder
- 4 slices bacon, chopped (more for garnish if desired)
- 6 ears corn on the cob, cut off the cob (do not discard cobs)
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 large Vidalia Onion
- 1 lb. red or white potatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice (no need to peel)
- 12 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, cut into 1/4″-thick half moons
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, finely diced (save fronds for garnish)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups ham stock (or water)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2-3 Tbsp. white wine
- Chop the bacon and crisp it in a dutch oven. Transfer bacon crumbles to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Sauté the corn, celery, onion, fennel and garlic in the bacon renderings.
- Add herb bundle, stock (or water), half of the diced potatoes, bouillon, corn cobs and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the corn cobs and herb bundle and puree half of the soup in a blender until smooth.
- Add the chowder puree back to the pot and add the sausage, remaining potatoes, cream and white wine.
- Return the pot to a simmer over medium heat with the lid tightly secured for an additional 10 minutes until the potato is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve with chopped fennel fronds and bacon.
Loosely adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan