Summer Corn Chowder

By • June 21, 2009 • 48 Comments

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Author Notes: I started making this chowder in 1990 from a recipe I found in Food & Wine. Not being a fan of bell peppers, I modified it by adding poblano peppers instead and I think it tastes much better. I have also roasted the poblanos on occasion for a richer flavor It's a huge crowd pleaser! - Nancy JoNancy Jo

Food52 Review: This is an earthy, moody corn chowder that alternates between sweet and hot. We were intrigued by the technique of cooking the vegetables in their own juices before adding milk and cream, which seems to intensify all the flavors. - A&MA&M

Serves 6

  • 6 medium ears of corn
  • 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 medium poblano, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 cups light cream, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Working over a bowl, cut the corn kernels from the cobs at about half their depth. Then, using the back of the knife, scrape the cobs over the bowl to release all the "milk"; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, fry the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble and reserve.
  3. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the poblano pepper, jalapeño and celery and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, salt, allspice, sugar, bay leaf and the reserved corn kernels and their "milk" and stir well. Cook over moderate heat until mixture begins to sizzle.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Stir in the cream and milk and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and season with black pepper to taste. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with the crumbled bacon and parsley.

Tags: farmers market, seasonal, serves a crowd, spicy

Comments (48) Questions (2)


2 months ago Kari2011

I made with a few modifications since I didn't milk the corn cob when I was freezing my corn. I also used some tomatoes I had canned during the summer. It was delicious, not too much heat or dairy.


5 months ago Jolie Hunt

Made as is and it rocked my world. My husband and I can't stop eating it!


6 months ago Diana Ascarrunz

Overall very good - but if you're looking for a spicy chowder this isn't it.

The soup is actually very light and creamy. :)


7 months ago plainhomecook

Not only satisfying to eat but also to cook - all the vegetables smelled fresh, and the bacon and roasted poblano perfumed the whole house. Thank you!


7 months ago Stubor

I'm going to try this, but split the potato quantity with cauliflower; cover me, I'm going in!


8 months ago chankari

Terrific chowder. Really fresh and just a touch spicy. The corn turned out beautifully - crisp and sweet. I made it vegetarian by using butter instead of bacon, then taking the advice of Nancy Jo and roasting the poblano for something smokey. I think the smoked paprika suggested would have been a good addition, if serving vegetarians (or if you just couldn't make to the butcher's on time!)


8 months ago lisabu

Any ideas on how to adapt this for vegetarians? Just omit the bacon? Would you add anything else smoky, for example smoked paprika or sun-dried tomatoes or something?


8 months ago Nancy Jo

I've never tried it without bacon, but your smoked paprika idea sounds great. I would add a tablespoon when you add the poblano, celery, and jalapeno so it flavors the oil. I also just tried a batch using all canned lite coconut milk for a dairy free version. Delicious.


8 months ago MariahK

This was so good! I'm disappointed that I only made a 1/2 batch! I left out the tomatoes because I don't like them in chowder and added a pinch of cumin and a pinch of toasted ground fennel seeds from another corn chowder recipe. With a couple shrimp on top it was a great summer dinner. Delicious!


8 months ago Sarah Gillis

Oh my god. Where to start... This is SUCH a delicious chowder. I was really skeptical in the beginning that the ingredients wouldn't create such a rich, flavorful and robust end result. I was beyond pleasantly surprised by the results. I followed the recipe, including a recommendation to roast the poblano. I paired this with cheesy biscuits (also found on Food52) which was just awesome. This will be part of the regular repertoire of family meals for me. Thank you!


9 months ago Chris Van Houten

Oooh I just made this and I am redubbing it "Second Helping Corn Chowder." I made it exactly as suggested but with a little less cream to suit my taste, and it is sublime- I had to go back for a second bowl right as soon as I put my spoon down from the first. The roasted poblano is possibly the best part of this dish, aside from the heaps of fresh sweet golden corn.


11 months ago StacyFischer

I wish Nancy Jo would cook this for me!


11 months ago 2-Little-Chicks

This was amazing! Loved the combination of the sweet corn and the subtle heat. I couldn't get any light cream, so I used 1 cup regular cream and 1 cup whole milk...came out perfectly. Thank you!


12 months ago erskinechef

I would love to me this but corn is not in season yet- what about using frozen organic corn? I know it won't be as good as fresh...


over 1 year ago lschrive

Thank you - I don't know what else to say - this was amazing. Poblanos were just a lovely addition - thank you!!!


over 1 year ago yum21

This recipe was great. I replaced regular potatoes with sweet potatoes and used can poblanos with the juice. It was excellent. I would even add a seafood element next time.


over 1 year ago yum21

This recipe was great. I replaced regular potatoes with sweet potatoes and used can poblanos with the juice. It was excellent. I would even add a seafood element next time.


over 1 year ago yum21

This recipe was great. I replaced regular potatoes with sweet potatoes and used can poblanos with the juice. It was excellent. I would even add a seafood element next time.


over 1 year ago Foodelf

Made it last night and was blown away by the fresh, bright flavours. Naturally, it's all about the corn but the supporting case of ingredients and technique makes this corn chowder sparkle in a class of its own - the sneaky little backdrop of subtle heat is lovely. I used a medley of small nugget potatoes, including some red and purple ones, which produced a very pretty effect.

I'd planned on taking some for a friend when I visit tomorrow, but I'm not really sure I want to share. I'm definitely making this again while there's still great corn around.


over 1 year ago QueenSashy

I have been trying out corn recipes this summer (it's the summer of corn this year, last year was the summer of zucchini)... This recipe was one of my favorites! Loved the poblano touch.


over 1 year ago chefrockyrd

Mmmm added lobster to ours here in Maine!
fantastic recipe.