I had never had a chowder before making this and it has made me a believer! It starts and ends with bacon…enough said, right?! This Southwestern Corn Chowder is creamy, smoky, and developed with a subtle heat.
I am a firm follower in all things Martha Stewart; she always knows how to do things the best way! I used to dislike turkey because it was always dry and bland; so I went to Queen Martha for a solution – she introduced me to the ever-flavorful and moist brining method and I now see it as THE most crucial step in a holiday meal. This Corn Chowder is one of many recipes I have found out of Martha’s American Food cookbook. The book does a beautiful job of going through the United States regionally and highlighting her versions of the regions’ delights. There’s a little backstory on each with its’ history and how it’s relative to the region, plus updates that have been made over time. There is also an All-American section with many recipes I know I can turn to when I need a knock-out version of a classic.
Each phase of cooking the vegetables in this recipe brings a depth of vegetable flavor with a smoky base from the bacon. Seasoning throughout is important to help bring out the vegetables’ best flavor and bring them all together.
You could make this vegetarian easily by swapping out the bacon for veggie bacon or tempeh, which is made from soybeans and can easily take on other flavors. The only other change you would need to make is to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and you will have a hearty vegetarian corn chowder.
The hot sauce you add to each bowl right before serving is optional; however, I highly recommend it. It is the zesty kick that makes the bowl of corn chowder sing the final chorus, just like lemon juice squeezed over seafood. I prefer Texas Pete but Tabasco or Frank’s hot sauce will work too. Enjoy the munchies!
Corn ChowderCourse: Soup, MainCuisine: Southwest AmericanDifficulty: Easy
2 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ onion, cut into ½ inch dice
½ large carrot, cut into ½ inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into ½ inch dice
1 small fresh poblano chile, ribs and seeds removed, cut into ¼ inch dice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Small pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup dry white wine
½ pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
2.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups fresh (about 3 ears) or frozen corn kernels (do not thaw)
½ cup heavy cream
⅛ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
- Heat a large pot over medium. Add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Add onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 4 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and poblano; cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Raise heat to high; add wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until most liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes and stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in corn and cream; cook until corn is tender (do not let cream boil), about 5 minutes more. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with bacon pieces and more cilantro; serve with hot sauce, if desired.
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