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Fresh Corn Chowder (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated, and it's one of my favorite versions of Corn Chowder. (You could use frozen corn, too.) I like the texture of both creamy and some crunch, because whole corn is added toward the end of the soup's cooking time. I added red bell pepper for color and flavor, but you could leave that out. I didn't have salt pork, so I took a chance and used quality thick-cut bacon. It worked out great, especially with a garnish of crispy bacon on top. The Buttered Rosemary Skillet rolls paired perfectly with this recipe. You can find the bread recipe at: Great soup!

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  • 10 ears corn (medium), husks and silks removed
  • 3 ounces salt pork , trimmed of rind and cut into two 1-inch cubes (note: I used regular bacon, which worked out fine)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion , preferably Spanish, chopped fine
  • 2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small red bell pepper (optional, my adaption)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • Ground black pepper


Servings 6
Adapted from


Step 1

1. Stand corn on end. Using chef's knife, cut kernels from 4 ears corn (you should have about 3 cups); transfer to medium bowl and set aside. Following illustrations below, grate kernels from remaining 6 ears on large holes of box grater, then firmly scrape any pulp remaining on cobs with back of knife (you should have 2 generous cups kernels and pulp). Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.

2. Sauté salt pork (or quality thick-cut bacon) in Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, turning with tongs and pressing down on pieces to render fat, until cubes are crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, stir in butter and onions, cover pot, and cook until softened, about 12 minutes. If using, add the chopped red bell pepper in the last five minutes of cooking the onion.

Remove salt pork and reserve.

Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Whisking constantly, gradually add stock. Add potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, milk, grated corn and pulp, and reserved salt pork; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add reserved corn kernels and heavy cream and return to simmer; simmer until corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf and salt pork. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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