Make Ahead

Smoked Corn Chowder with Crispy Duck Skin

August 15, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I have a pretty good relationship with my smoker and it rewards me with many fine meals throughout the summer. Recently, I was looking for a way to satisfy a craving for an earthy corn chowder with shaved truffles we'd had at a local restaurant. Instead of truffles (which would break the bank), I decided to try smoking a portion of the fresh corn to lend some depth to the soup. And since it would be a crime to waste a good smoke, I seasoned a couple of duck breasts, then used some rendered skin in place of bacon in a fairly typical chowder recipe. Adjust the proportion of smoked corn to fresh and try different smoking woods to really make this dish your own. - Minimally Invasive —Minimally Invasive

Test Kitchen Notes

We absolutely love this chowder — you’d have to be seriously nuts not to. We used four duck breasts because we had them and it is a good thing because we ate a whole bunch of crispy skin bits before they ever made it to the chowder. The smoked and sweet corn simmered with the cobs and vegetables … summer in a bowl. We had some duck stock in the freezer so we used that for the liquid along with half and half. The whole thing comes together in a perfect balance of smoke and sweet and salt. I ate two bowls and only stopped because I was about to burst. - aargersi
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Dry Rub
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • Corn Chowder
  • 1 boneless duck breast, split
  • dry rub
  • 6 ears corn, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sage leaf
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Dry Rub
  2. Mix ingredients well and use to season any dark meat before smoking. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container.
  1. Corn Chowder
  2. Wash and dry duck breasts. With a sharp knife, score skin and fat, being careful not to cut into the meat. Coat both sides of breasts with dry rub and refrigerate uncovered up to one day.
  3. Prepare your smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions, using your preferred smoking wood. Place two ears of corn on the lower rack just above the water pan. Place duck skin side up on the top rack over the corn. Smoke until duck is cooked through, about 40-50 minutes. Remove duck and corn from smoker.
  4. Once corn has cooled enough to handle, cut the kernels from the ears into a large bowl and discard cobs. Cut kernels from the four remaining ears into same bowl and reserve cobs for the stock.
  5. Remove skin from one duck breast half and chop. In a large, heavy pot over low heat, render fat from the skin. Remove crisped skin from pot with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel-lined plate to cool. Discard any fat over 1 tablespoon that remains in the pot. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the duck fat and increase heat to medium-high.
  6. Sauté onion, bell pepper and celery in duck fat and butter until wilted. Do not brown. Add corn cobs and remaining ingredients through potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard corn cobs, thyme sprig, sage and bay leaf.
  7. Transfer soup to blender in batches and purée until smooth. (For a velvety consistency, strain soup through a fine mesh strainer and press on solids to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard solids.) Stir in heavy cream or half-and-half and adjust seasoning to taste. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with crispy duck skin.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
  • drbabs
  • aargersi
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • The Enchanted Cook
    The Enchanted Cook

27 Reviews

Oui, C. August 3, 2011
Did someone say crispy duck skin? Yes, please! LOVE THIS.
Minimally I. August 4, 2011
Thank you! And I'm really craving duck skin right now - can't wait till the weekend to fire up the smoker.
singing_baker August 1, 2011
This looks amazing! and I just got duck this past weekend its a sign! love the blog too its fabulous
Minimally I. August 2, 2011
Thank you! Isn't it great when fate decides your meals for you?
Laura F. September 18, 2010
We are having trouble getting a smooth consistency to our soup... what are we doing wrong?

we use the cuisinart, and wind up with yummy flavor but with lumpy soup...

any thoughts.. thanks

love the duck combination
Minimally I. September 18, 2010
Hi Laura - sorry, I should've mentioned that the soup wouldn't be completely smooth! (I thought the consistency worked well enough with the rustic flavors.) If you want it to be smooth and velvety, just force the soup through a mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
drbabs August 29, 2010
Hey, all y'all, check out her blog--it's fabulous and her photography is gorgeous!
aargersi August 29, 2010
We got a Camerons one, you need to run the vent because a little bit of smoke escapes - we smoked duck, corn, halibut cheeks, sausage and are about to do steak and peppers. LOVE it!!! It was for sale at the grocery store ...
aargersi August 29, 2010
This is a reply to below, I clicked wrong I guess! oops!
lastnightsdinner August 29, 2010
We have a Weber Bullet and a Camerons, and we love both. Totally making this soon!
aargersi August 29, 2010
You must make it. We got a new stovetop smoker and are completely in love with it!!! Get one!
Minimally I. August 29, 2010
What kind of smoker did you get? I like to think I'll still use my Weber during the winter, but the reality is, I kind of hate the cold.
aargersi August 29, 2010
This is so freakin' good!! I ate it until I about popped.
lastnightsdinner August 29, 2010
You jumped on this right before we did for EP - now I *really* can't wait to try it out!
Minimally I. August 29, 2010
How exciting!!! I'm so glad you liked it!
MrsWheelbarrow August 22, 2010
brilliant recipe! really fabuloso. i need a smoker....
The E. August 21, 2010
Sounds amazing!
theicp August 19, 2010
Love love love!
TasteFood August 17, 2010
Wow - this sounds great.
Minimally I. August 17, 2010
Thanks, everyone -- I hope you like it!
gingerroot August 17, 2010
This sounds divine (I will admit, duck is my weakness). I am saving this...
aliyaleekong August 16, 2010
This sounds absolutely delicious. I seriously got hungry reading this. Love the flavor combination!
dymnyno August 15, 2010
Wow...what an impressive recipe...saved....printed....thumbs up!
Minimally I. August 15, 2010
Thank you! It's my first posting - hope I got it right.
testkitchenette August 15, 2010
lastnightsdinner August 15, 2010
Wow, Amy. Fabulous.
Sagegreen August 15, 2010
Maximally delicious!