I’ve never been able to eat just one ear of corn. The summer before my orthodontist gave me braces, I ate corn on the cob like a girl on a mission. My Aunt Ruth made an amazing dinner one night and boasted that the [Midwestern] farmers’ market had fresh corn so she bought “too many ears for just us”. As it turned out, she bought just enough. My father and I each ate at least six ears at each sitting, much to my aunt’s delight. To this day, I associate corn with the sound of a screen door slamming shut and the feel of plastic-covered furniture. As much as I love buttery corn on the cob, it can be a bit messy.
Just because the best corn is available in summer and early fall doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it year-round. The corresponding amount of canned corn as a substitute for kernels fresh from the ear is noted below in the ingredients.
Chicken Corn Chowder
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons sliced shallots or scallions (spring onions)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 1/2 cups milk (use whole for the full effect, use skimmed if you’ve making sandwiches too or you’ll be over-filled)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (omit for vegetarian version)
- 8 ears of cooked sweet corn, kernels only (or 22 ounces drained, canned sweet corn)
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon table cream
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Let the broth and the scallions sit together while warm, not too hot.
2. In a medium-sized stockpot over low heat, melt butter. Once it has melted completely, stir in the flour little-by-little to create the roux base. Stir constantly with a fork or whisk. Then pour in the broth little-by-little, stirring constantly to blend thoroughly. Follow that with pouring in the milk while stirring to integrate it evenly. Finally, stir in the salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and let simmer for ten minutes.
3. Add the kernels of corn to the pot and stir together with the onions. Let the mixture cook for 1 minute before adding the milk. Raise the temperature to medium and warm the ingredients until they are not quite boiling.
4. Add the flour and 1 tablespoon cream to the mixture and blend them together with the warm ingredients. Once blended, stir in the salt, pepper, and remaining cup of cream. Let the contents of the pot warm, but do not boil.
5. Serve the chowder in individual bowls or at the table from a large covered dish. Sometimes, I drizzle a little Buffalo Wing Sauce on top for an added kick.
The sweetness of corn is ideal for a variety of dishes, from breads and puddings to chowders and casseroles. With hundreds of corn soup and chowder recipes in cookbooks worldwide, it is often nice to return to the basics but also one that is filling. You can omit the chicken from this recipe for a vegetarian version.