Creamy Corn Chowder

Wow. This was delicious. A real celebration of summer farmstand corn. My local farmstand happens to have absolutely wonderful bi-color corn which I used for this special chowder.

A fresh corn broth is made for the base of this soup. It incorporates the corn cobs, shiitake mushroom stems, herbs, as well as parmesan rinds. I think it really makes the finished dish extraordinary.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit, contributed by Rick Martinez. I lightened the recipe by using half and half instead of heavy cream. I also used home-grown jalapeños instead of Fresno chiles and parsley instead of marjoram. I doubled the garlic too, of course. 😉 Fabulous!!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 2 Parmesan rinds (about 4 ounces)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • coarse salt
  • 5 T unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces (I used 3 thick slices)
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces (I used 1 1/2 large potatoes)
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 2 Fresno chiles or jalapeños, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 T chopped marjoram or parsley, plus more for serving
  • oyster crackers, for serving, optional
  1. Cut kernels from cobs and place in a large bowl. Reserve cobs.
  2. Place cobs in a medium pot and add Parmesan rinds, if using, mushroom stems, thyme, bay leaf, 2 tsp. salt, and 8 cups water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth is fragrant and reduced by half, 40–50 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids and set broth aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 4 T butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high.
  5. Add corn kernels, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and juices have evaporated and browned on the bottom of the pot, 12–15 minutes. Reserve ½ cup corn for serving; transfer remaining corn to a medium bowl.
  6. Add wine to pot and cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Scrape into bowl with remaining corn.
  7. Heat remaining 1 T butter in same pot over medium and cook bacon until golden brown and fat has rendered, about 6 minutes.
  8. Add potatoes, shallots, leek, garlic, and chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but haven’t taken on any color, 12–15 minutes.
  9. Add chiles and cook until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes.
  10. Stir in flour and cook until nutty and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  11. Add reserved broth, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork-tender, 10–15 minutes.
  12. Add half and half (or cream) and corn mixture and cook, stirring, until chowder has thickened, 5–10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parley. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.
  13. Divide chowder among bowls. Top with additional parsley, oyster crackers, and reserved ½ cup corn; season with pepper.

Note: To make this vegetarian, omit the bacon and replace with more shiitake mushrooms; sauté them until they’re golden brown.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Zucchini & Black Bean Tacos

I love a hearty vegetarian taco! This one was a wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of summer zucchini (and home-grown jalapeños!) as well.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the spices, steamed the tortillas, and included avocado and cilantro in the toppings. The mashed black beans, sour cream and goat cheese added wonderful creaminess to the filling. Simple, fresh and delicious.

I’m sharing this one (belatedly!) with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #134 this week. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium or large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds if medium or sliced & halved or quartered if large
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 ounces) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • sour cream, crumbled goat cheese, sliced radishes, pickled jalapeños and carrots, and lime wedges, for serving (I also included Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles)
  • fresh cilantro and avocado slices, for garnish
  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. (I used a 4-quart pan)
  2. Add zucchini in a single layer; sprinkle with cumin and coriander. Cook, turning once, until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Season with salt and pepper; cover to keep warm.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil, onion, and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute.
  5. Add beans and 1/2 cup water, season with salt and pepper, and simmer, smashing some beans with a spoon, until heated through.
  6. With tongs, toast each tortilla over a burner until charred in places; wrap in a towel. Alternatively, warm the tortillas in a microwave, covered with a damp towel and plastic wrap, for approximately one minute, or until warm and pliable. (I used my tortilla warmer with the microwave method.)
  7. Fill with sour cream, beans, zucchini, and cheese. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  8. Serve, with jalapeños, carrots, radishes, avocado slices, and lime alongside, as desired.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Indian-Spiced Chicken and Spinach

This is a flavorful, quick, and healthy dish. Because the ribs and seeds are removed from the jalapeños they add flavor without heat. The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine.

I have made this dish with both fresh and frozen spinach. In order to keep the sauce from becoming watery, it was very important to drain the tomatoes and to squeeze all of the water out of the spinach before it was incorporated. A ricer is a great tool to use to squeeze out excess water in frozen spinach.

We ate this dish with warm naan and brown Basmati rice.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 14.5 oz can unsalted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 20 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed OR 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh spinach, cut or torn if leaves are large
  • 8 to 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs OR 3 large chicken breasts, cut into thirds
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
  • naan, for serving, optional
  1. In a large pan with a lid, heat the oil or ghee over moderately low heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes longer.
  4. Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute, and then stir in the jalapeños and tomatoes.
  5. Add the cream and cinnamon stick.
  6. If using Fresh Spinach: In a separate pan, cook 1 pound of spinach in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and cover until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining spinach, stirring to incorporate. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid. If using Frozen Spinach: Squeeze all excess liquid from the thawed spinach before incorporating into the onion and spice mixture.
  7. Add spinach to the onion and spice mixture.
  8. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, and simmer the stew until just done, about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
  10. Taste for seasoning and serve with naan and rice, if desired.

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