I love a good bowl of chowder and even as the weather warms up, there is something wonderfully comforting about a hearty bowl of soup. I  have based this soup off of a recipe from bon appetit magazine, but have changed that recipe a bit.  They key to success for this soup is using the fresh corn to make the stock which creates a wonderful flavor base for the soup and makes all the difference in taste.  It does require a bit of extra work, but well worth the effort.  You can adjust the amount of cream you want to use and even eliminate it, although your soup will not be thinner in consistency.  I have also served this soup with some gulf shrimp top…a great way to complement the dish.
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 1 Parmesan rind (about 4 ounces; optional)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 pound diced potato, 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrot, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 stalk celery, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 cup red pepper, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 -1 cup heavy cream
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  • buttery croutons, for serving

Directions:

Using a sharp knife, remove kernels from cobs and place in a large bowl. Place cobs in a medium pot and add parmesan rind, onion, thyme, bay leaf, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon peppercorns and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover for about 1 hour.  Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl and discard solids.

While broth is simmering, in a heavy bottom  pot, add bacon and cook until golden and crispy.  Remove bacon from the pot on a paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Add a tablespoon of butter to the pot along with the leeks and shallots.  Sauté on low for several minutes until soft and fragrant.  Add celery, carrots, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic, stirring frequently for an additional few minutes then add corn kernels, seasoning generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 10 minutes.  Increase heat for 30 seconds and add wine to pot and cook, scraping up any browned bits to deglaze the pan.   Once wine is absorbed, stir in flour, stirring for a minute or so, then add strained broth and diced potatoes.  Bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Stir in cream.  Just before serving, add crispy bacon, croutons and garnish with fresh parsley.  Enjoy!