Summer and the cookin’ is easy: Corn Chowder


I love summer because it’s so easy to cook without it really seeming like you spent much time in the kitchen. There are just so many uncomplicated meals to be had. Throw something on the grill and make a salad. Or whip up a quick corn chowder—easier than you might imagine. This scrumptious triumvirate of homemade sourdough bread, tomato, cucumber (from my sister’s garden), onion, and feta salad, and corn chowder with potatoes from our garden was mighty satisfying and easy to put together after a Sunday afternoon hike. Our East Bay summer weather has been cool enough that it doesn’t feel wrong to bake bread or make soup. Measurements are approximate, so use your own good judgment (particularly as to the amount of potatoes and broth). I did not measure as I cooked so I’m writing it from memory.

Quick Corn Broth

4 large ears corn
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4-5 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs thyme
6-8 whole peppercorns

Cut the corn kernels off the cob and set aside. Put the naked cobs and remaining ingredients in a large pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth.


This is our surprising bumper crop of potatoes. Surprising because I've never grown potatoes and did everything wrong according to what I've read and they were grown in a very small space in our raised bed. I planted them in March directly from River Dog Farm potatoes. (good thing they're not Monsanto or they could probably sue me!)


3 thick slices of bacon, diced
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons flour
About 8 cups warm broth from the recipe above
1/2-3/4 pound small fingerling potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
Reserved corn kernels
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme
1/2 cup whole milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh basil chiffonade for garnish (optional)

Put the bacon in a soup pot over medium heat and sauté until brown and beginning to crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the butter, and when it melts, the onion. Sauté until soft and translucent. Add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes, without letting it brown. Gradually add the broth while stirring. Add the potatoes, corn kernels, celery, and thyme, along with a little salt and pepper. Return the bacon to the pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately garnished with fresh basil (if using).

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One Comment

  1. Rock
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Mmmm this sounds good!

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