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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Corn Chowder

I've made this delicious chowder the past three summers when fresh corn is available. It is such a hearty soup it is good in the winter, too. It is one of the fussier of Cook's Illustrated recipes, but, as usual, I recommend taking the fussy steps; they are worth it.


Corn Chowder

Serves 6-8

8 ears corn, husks and silk removed 
3 T unsalted butter 
1 onion, chopped fine 
4 slices bacon, halved lengthwise then cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 teas minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 teas dried thyme)
salt and pepper
1/4 c flour
5 c water 
3/4 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
1 c half-and-half 
3 T chopped fresh basil, optional

Using chef’s knife, cut kernels from corn; transfer to bowl and set aside (you should have 5 to 6 cups kernels). Holding cobs over second bowl, use back of butter knife to firmly scrape any remaining pulp on cobs into bowl (you should have 2 to 2 1/2 cups pulp). Transfer pulp to center of clean kitchen towel set in medium bowl. Wrap towel tightly around pulp and squeeze tightly until dry. Discard pulp in towel and set corn juice aside (you should have about 2/3 cup juice).

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, bacon, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and edges are beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add water and bring to boil. Add corn kernels and potatoes. Return to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes have softened, 15 to 18 minutes.

Process 2 cups chowder in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return puree to chowder; add half-and-half and return to simmer. Remove pot from heat and stir in reserved corn juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and up to 1 tablespoon sugar. Serve, sprinkling with basil.


If you don't come up with 2/3 c corn milk, use what you have. I only had 1/2 c last time I made this. I wonder if I cut the corn too close to the cob.

In the winter, I use frozen corn. I either skip extracting the corn milk or I run 1 1/2 c corn in the food processor to break it down and squeeze the corn milk from the chopped corn.


  1. Oh My this does sound good and DOES seem fussy! I just might make it tomorrow. Thanks. could I skip the thyme?

    1. Yes, you could skip the thyme or use dried thyme (about 1/2 teas). If you choose to leave it out, put a couple of bay leaves in to give it some background flavor. I'm going to change the recipe to let folks know that dried thyme can be substituted.