Creamy, hearty Corn Chowder with BACON!! My two little effortless tips that take this up a notch is to use the bacon drippings to make the soup base, and toss the used corn cobs into the broth to infuse it with extra corn flavour. This soup is guaranteed to warm your soul and get your taste buds dancing!
I’m a sucker for creamy soups in any form. In fact, I’m yet to come across a creamy soup I don’t love. Hmmmm…..that statement sounds somewhat awfully familiar. I’ve written that here before. Oh, that’s right. I say the same thing about cheese. Umm… and potatoes.
This website would be a very different place indeed if I also said the same thing about salads. 😈
There are corn chowders, then there are corn chowders. A couple of years ago, I shared a quick ‘n easy Corn Chowder using leftover Christmas ham and frozen corn. This one is a teeny step up from that in terms of effort, and it’s totally worth it because it’s extra corny and loaded with extra flavour.
Here’s my tip: Use fresh corn and use the corn cobs to make a simple extra-corny broth. OH – and cook the bacon first and use the bacon drippings to make the soup base (i.e. sautéing onion and garlic then making a roux that thickens the soup).
This method of infusing the soup broth with the corn cobs is a tip I picked up from Kenji at Serious Eats, The Best Corn Chowder Recipe. Kenji says this, Kenji says that, Kenji’s tip for this, Kenji’s tested that… his name gets thrown around quite a bit in the RecipeTin family. While I’m pretty sure none of us has actually made any of his recipes exactly as written, we find his food-science approach to making the “best of the best” (like crunchy fried Chinese chicken that stays crunchy) or why it’s impossible to do this-or-that in a home kitchen (like truly charring noodles the South East Asian way) interesting reading, and are sometimes able to pick up tips that we can actually use in our normal day to day cooking.
Infusing the broth with the corn cobs is one such technique. 🙂
Now, I must confess something. Well, 2 things. The soup you see in the photos is cleaner than what you will see in the video. I usually make this with sprigs of thyme to infuse the broth. When I made the recipe video, I only had a few shrivelled up brown sprigs so I opted to use dried thyme instead rather than doing yet another run to the grocery store, so the soup broth is speckled with thyme leaves.
Having made that decision, I proceeded with the recipe video. Got the step where I was to toss in a bay leaf…. and realised I was out of bay leaves!!!
So… that bay leaf you see me plop into the soup is actually….. errr ….well, it’s a kaffir lime leaf. I fished it out as soon as I stopped recording!!!
These are not deal breakers though. Dried vs fresh thyme sprigs is just about aesthetics, and the bay leaf does add a subtle hint of extra flavour but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have it.
Just don’t substitute with kaffir lime leaf!!! – Nagi x
PS Though…. hmm. Lime + corn is a great pairing (think Mexican!). I wonder…..
Make your next Corn Chowder extra tasty by using the bacon drippings to make the soup base and after cutting the kernels off, throw the corn cobs into the broth to infuse it with extra corn flavour! The potato is cooked until very soft, so the edges are starting to breakdown and this helps thicken the soup. Recipe VIDEO below.
- 4 ears of corn (or 4 cups / 750g / 1.5 lb frozen or canned corn, drained)
- 1 tsp butter (or oil)
- 250 g / 8 oz bacon , chopped
- 2 tbsp / 30 g butter (use 3 tbsp if bacon is lean)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 small onion , diced (or half large onion) (yellow, brown or white)
- 5 tbsp / 60g flour
- 2 cups chicken broth , low sodium preferred
- 3 cups milk (I use low fat but full fat will work too)
- 600 g / 1.2 lb potatoes , cut into 1 cm / 2/5" cubes (about 2 large)
- 2 sprigs of thyme OR 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3/4 cup / 185 ml cream (Note 1)
- 3/4 cup shallots , green part finely sliced (green onions / scallions)
- Salt and finely ground pepper to taste
Cut the corn off the cob. This is how I do it: Place a small ramekin in a large bowl. Place corn on the ramekin then cut the corn off. See video. Keep naked cobs.
Place 1 tsp butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove onto a paper towel lined plate. Leave fat in pot.
Lower heat to medium high. Add 2 tbsp butter, once melted, add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes until onion is translucent.
Add flour and mix it in. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add broth, milk, potatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Break naked cobs into 2 or 3 and add into the liquid. Put the lid on and simmer for 25 minutes (adjust heat so it's simmering energetically but not bubbling like crazy or super gently).
Remove lid, remove corn cobs. Add corn and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked to your taste.
Stir through cream and 3/4 of the bacon and shallots. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining bacon and shallots.
1. I use heavy / thickened cream. Feel free to use half and half, pouring or even light cream. Butter is also a great option if you don't have cream - just a small knob to add richness. Or omit it for a healthier version - it's still beautifully creamy and thick.
2. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings. 175 calories of the 620 calories is attributable to the bacon (streaky bacon). Use lean or turkey bacon to cut down on calories!
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Nowhere to be seen when I was cutting the corn, made an appearance when the bacon was cooking. (PS I shot this recipe pre Cindy Crawford beauty spot in the photo I shared last Friday a.k.a smudge of permanent hair colour on his face)