Monday, June 27, 2011

Chowd-ah Pow-ah

Years and years ago, when I cooked only occasionally, I remember making a corn chowder recipe. I'm pretty sure it involved a can or two of creamed corn, some chicken broth, an onion and a red bell pepper. It was good, but it didn't seem like authentic corn chowder. So, wanting to make something a little more traditional and a bit more challenging, I added corn chowder to my recipe wishlist.

I recently saw this recipe in an old issue of Cook's Country and thought it fit the bill ... well, maybe not in the "traditional" department. I selected a variation of the recipe with chorizo and jalapenos, making it more of a Bobby Flay-ed, Southwestern version of corn chowder. But at least it involved fresh corn, which earned points in the "challenging" department!

I, as usual, didn't stay entirely true to the recipe as it was printed (which I'm beginning to think is a good thing ... at least America's Test Kitchen can't accuse me of plagiarizing!). I made a couple tweaks, which I noted inside the recipe directions.

Corn Chowder with Chorizo and Chiles
5 ears fresh corn
2 (18 oz.) cans whole kernel corn, drained
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 lb. ground chorizo
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
1 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cut kernels from ears of corn; reserve cobs and kernels separately. Puree canned corn and 1 1/2 cups broth in food processor until smooth. (Note: I read this wrong and ended up pureeing the fresh corn instead of the canned. Whoops.)

Cook chorizo in Dutch oven over medium heat. Using slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Cook onion, jalapeno, corn kernels, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in chorizo fat until vegetables are softened and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add potatoes, corn puree, remaining broth, and reserved corn cobs to Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard cobs and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. (This is where I decided I wanted a smooth instead of chunky soup, so I broke out the stick blender and blended the soup until it was mostly smooth.) Stir in chorizo and serve.

Always mommy's helper, Lola takes a snooze on the recipe!
I have to say, this soup would have been very good had I followed the recipe exactly, but I think I made an excellent choice in using the stick blender. Really, I just like to bring it out because it's fun, and I don't find a lot of excuses to use it. But having had corn chowder leftovers for lunch today, I'm convinced that it helped the flavors concentrate and become that much more yummy overnight. It's the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and the potatoes and cream give it just enough richness while still tasting fresh. Way better than any canned creamed corn version of chowder you'll find!


  1. The chowder sounds fantastic and definitely something I would try (and nice to see that you broke out the Dutch oven!).

  2. I lost my original post because I was blindsided and AWWWWing over Lola! Unreal! :D

    I think I told you how much I LOVE the corn chowder at Whole Foods. The extremely rare occasions on which I go in there (attempting to push aside the guilt of paying $15 for a salad!), I cross my fingers that they have it. But they never had chorizo in theirs! I'm gonna have to have a pitch session with the chef at the deli.. that is just too brilliant an idea to let go to waste!

    Speaking of Whole Foods, please tell me you've seen this. Everyone from California knows just how accurate this is. And the guy's story about filming it.... haha!