Corn Cheddar Chowder
Corn Cheddar Chowder is my go-to soup as we transition from the late summer heat of ‘Indian Summer’ to autumn each year. Why? Because this is the ultimate in comfort food, without leaving you feeling like you need a long hibernation after ingesting it. (Though that is never a bad idea…right?)
When making any soup with a cream-base, use caution during the heating process or you may encounter the dreadful ‘breaking-of-the-sauce’ dilemma. When developing this recipe I made it easy by separating the liquid ingredients from the bulk of the roux, blending them once past the danger-zone of easy kitchen mistakes…
This recipe was created using potato to thicken the broth, rather than wheat flour, to make a gluten free recipe, so our friends with wheat allergies may enjoy this rich, creamy soup. Depending upon the season, we occasionally add fresh shrimp, sea scallops, Dungeness crab or even lobster tail to this delicious blend of warming flavors. Great for a rainy day at the beach house!
Corn Cheddar Chowder
- 2 large organic russet potatoes cut into 2-inch chunks (if you are using non-organic potatoes, peel!)
- 4 – 6 cups home-made chicken stock or low-salt, gluten free chicken broth
- 3 – 5 California bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground sage
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1 large yellow onion or 2 medium onions, coarsely cut (leeks are a good as well!)
- 5 – 8 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper (not hot pepper!), seeded & finely chopped (can be replaced with 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained)
- 2 cups crimini or white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups 2% fat milk
- 1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen white corn
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (*See notes below)
- ½ cup dry chardonnay
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
(*Cheese: I prefer a blend of white cheddar & Gruyère, but you can use sharp cheddar as well. Have fun & explore new variations. If you find a voovacious cheese to contribute, please let us know!
Minced Italian parsley or fresh chives
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Cooked bacon bits, coarsely chopped (Optional)
In a small pot, bring stock, bay leaves, salt & pepper, sage and cumin to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender (20-minutes or so). While potatoes are cooking, in a skillet, melt butter & brown shallots & onions (3 – 5-minutes) Once cooked, add garlic and cook on medium for 2-minutes. Set aside in a bowl and cover.
In the same skillet used to cook onions, add olive oil and cook mushrooms at medium heat for 3 minutes until gently browned. Add wine and cook for 4 additional minutes. Place in bowl containing onions, along with chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Once potatoes are done, bring down to medium and add milk. Heat and cook on medium low for 10-minutes to allow all the favors to blend and co-mingle with each other.
Turn off the pot and let it cool to a manageable temperature. Once potato mixture has cooled, remove bay leaves, adding them to the bowl of mushrooms and onions. Place potatoes and broth in a high-quality blender.
Le Voov! Words of Wisdom: After putting the lid on the blender, cover with a towel in case the soup attempts to decorate your kitchen walls, cabinets and ceiling creatively….!
Working in batches, puree potatoes and liquids in blender until smooth. Return to large pot and add mushroom, onion and garlic mixture to pot along with frozen corn.
Heat slowly for 10-minutes, then add cheese 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to blend. Add nutmeg and correct seasonings to taste. Turn down to medium low and allow soup to thicken for 30 – 50 minutes stirring often.
Serve with a full-bodied white wine, a few slices of broiled rustic French bread slathered with garlic butter, and a green salad to finish off this meal. Enjoy!
Le Voov! Tip: As with most soups, this corn cheddar chowder becomes more flavorful and complex a day or two after being made, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-days. So, make enough to savor the left overs…