Spiced Corn Chowder Provencal

By • October 20, 2011 16 Comments

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Author Notes: While preparing to reap the benefits of the garden one year, I discovered a corn chowder recipe in Chile Pepper magazine (Feb.1998) and immediately modified it to my taste; a bit lighter on the heat and cream used, adding potato, garlic and smoked paprika. Also, in addition to the fennel seeds, I added a dash of fennel pollen for its hint of sweetness; the pollen gives an extraordinary flavor, a little goes a long way.

I’ve made this recipe every year since discovering the Chile Pepper version and a year ago I was inspired by Food52-SKK’s corn soup to use corn husks to make my stock. Not only did I use the husks but I tweaked, using the silks and de-kerneled corn cobs as well.

The vegetables and aromatic spices used in this recipe are some typical cuisine eaten in the Provence region of southern France bordering the Mediterranean Sea, they resemble Italian, Greek or Spanish cuisine; I just happen to be of Italian, Spanish and French descent...so seriously, this flavor profile has always been an essential in some form ever since I can remember!

Makes 10 to 12 large servings


  • Husks, Silks and De-Kerneled cobs from 1 lb ears of corn
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 8 cups water
  1. Place ingredients in a stock pot and bring it to a boil, simmer for 45 minutes. When done strain the stock and set aside until needed.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh corn - kernels scraped from cob
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced sweet bell pepper - use either red, orange, yellow or a mixture
  • 1 large jalapeno - seeds are optional
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1/8 (heaping) teaspoon fennel pollen (or a large pinch)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground lemon pepper
  • 6-7 cups corn husk stock (use chicken if you don’t have the stock)
  • Cream on hand to top the bowls of soup
  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom soup pot.
  2. Sauté the corn, potato, onions, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic and spinach over medium heat until soft…about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the spices, stir to mix well and cook 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add stock, mix well, and reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Serve hot with 1 or 2 tablespoons cream added as garnish.

More Great Recipes: Corn Chowder|Vegetables|Soups|Potatoes|Fennel

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Comments (16) Questions (0)


12 months ago Jennifer Church

Delicious! Had homemade yogurt on the table instead of adding cream. Also, had cubed, ripe avocados for people to add. They were really a great touch.


12 months ago lapadia

Hi JC, I am so happy to hear you tried this recipe and LOVE your additions, will definitely have to try them!


about 2 years ago Skilletlicker

Where does one buy fennel pollen?


about 2 years ago lapadia

Hi there,
I bought my Fennel Pollen at a place called Central Market (in the Pacific NW)...it is like a Whole Foods Market. The same brand I bought can be found via Amazon.com too (a little goes a long way you will probably never have to buy again, I have read, online, of people harvesting their own, here is the link to Amazon, also shows what the brand I bought looks like:


about 2 years ago Skilletlicker

Thank you so much! I really want to try this recipe!


about 2 years ago lapadia

Great, SL! Would love it if you circle back once you've tried it :)


about 2 years ago marialissio

I made this the other night and it was absolutely terrific. What was a revelation was the methodology for the broth which was, for the record, spectacular. Clear flavourful liquid and a perfect base for the other ingredients. I confess I added cubed vine-ripened tomatoes just prior to serving because they were sitting there begging to be used. It was a delightful chowder. Staff and I had the leftovers for lunch today. Still terrific. Thank you Linda.


about 2 years ago lapadia

Wow, thanks ML, love the feedback! I can't wait for this year's corn to be ready to harvest, looking forward to making the broth for the chowder and to freeze some for future recipes...


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh. Em. Gee. Waiting impatiently for corn season as of right now.


over 2 years ago lapadia

LOL! Thanks for checking it out, Abbie!


over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love everything about this! I always toss the cobs into corn stock; they also add a great flavor if roasted and/or smoked. I especially love the Mediterranean-ness of your chowder. And the fennel pollen - brilliant!


over 2 years ago lapadia

Thanks, Cynthia! I ? fennel pollen; when growing up we had fun helping to harvest our own, my grandmother had a lot of fennel growing, it seemed to take forever to collect a sizeable amount.


over 2 years ago Bevi

I love your photo, love the way you adapted this recipe to make it your own, love that you credited all your sources. And the soup sounds darn good too!


over 2 years ago lapadia

Yay, I passed the test, thanks Bevi! :)


almost 4 years ago susan g

I love the tweaks that make this recipe so appealing, more than a basic corn chowder. We may be able to get some end of season corn for this one.


almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks, susgn g, I hope you will get to try it!!