I love soups, especially hearty chowders. This corn and potato chowder is a take on a true classic: with bacon, potatoes, and fresh summer corn, you really can’t go wrong! The mix of ancho chili pepper and cayenne also brings a beautiful complexity and depth to the flavor. This corn and potato chowder is very hearty and comforting, but not too heavy: we will take advantage of an immersion blender (or regular blender) to get the rich, creamy texture without a lot of dairy.
The secret to the perfect rich, but not heavy, chowder
Chowders are one of my favorite types of soups, but they often have a high proportion of milk and heavy cream which can make them quite indulgent at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dairy, but sometimes it’s nice to have something that has a decadent experience, with lighter ingredients. This corn and potato chowder only uses 1 cup of milk (and you can totally use plant based milk if you prefer), and then relies on the creaminess of the potatoes themselves to get that perfectly rich and cozy texture we know and love. To get this perfect balance, we’ll blend some of the soup using an immersion blender, but not all the way, so we are left with a silky soup that still has some potato and corn pieces. This is a great way to thicken soups without having to add a ton of heavy cream.
I also like to add a little bit of cornstarch at the end to thicken it up just a touch, and to add to the silky mouthfeel.
Taking advantage of seasonal ingredients
Fresh corn is such a versatile ingredient, and it really adds a beautiful brightness and sweetness to this chowder. It’s one of my favorite things to grab at the farmer’s market in the summertime. If you can’t access fresh corn, or would like to make this recipe when fresh corn is out of season, fear not! It’s just as delicious with frozen corn, or canned.
For this corn and potato chowder, I like to use thin skinned potatoes, such as yukon gold, red potatoes, or fingerling potatoes. Any smaller variety of thin skinned potatoes works beautifully, so feel free to use your favorite, or even a mix! My personal favorites are a variety called Magic Myrna, which are a super creamy type of fingerling potato with a pinkish purple skin. Because we are leaving the skin on and want a silky texture, I don’t recommend using russet potatoes, as the skin is a bit tough and they can get a little mushy. That said, they will work just fine in a pinch, but I would suggest peeling them before adding them to the soup.
How to make this corn and potato chowder
One of the best parts about making soups is that they’re so easy to make, and take relatively little time start to finish. We’ll start this chowder by frying off the bacon, and then cooking the base veggies in the bacon grease. This gives us a delicious and flavorful base to build our soup on. Next, we’ll add the potatoes, corn, spices, and broth, and cook until the potatoes are cooked through.
After adding the milk, we’ll move to the blending step. I recommend using an immersion blender, as this is much easier to do than using a regular blender, but you can also use a traditional blender or food processor. If you are using a blender or food processor, make sure you blend in batches, so you don’t burn yourself on the steam from the soup.
After partially blending the chowder, we’ll add the bacon back in, thicken it up with the cornstarch, and we’re ready to serve! I love topping mine with chopped green onions, cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon.
Tools you’ll need
You’ll need a large heavy bottomed pot, such as a dutch oven or cast iron pot. As mentioned previously, you’ll also need an immersion blender, traditional blender, or food processor. If you don’t have any of these, your soup will be quite brothy and on the thinner side, but still delicious! You can also try mashing some of the potatoes in the pot to mimic the blended texture.
How to store this chowder
This chowder will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before enjoying.
I hope you give this Corn and Potato Chowder a try! Be sure to tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes, and leave me a comment below! Your feedback helps other bakers and home cooks who are giving this recipe a try, and I love hearing about your creations!