Lighter Corn Chowder

Credit: Amanda Simon
With fall determined to bring this long D.C. summer to an end, I wanted to make a batch of a thick, lovely soup with the last of this summer’s corn. I love making large batches of soups in the fall and winter, then freezing leftovers in single serving containers so I can grab a quick lunch for work later that week.

This corn chowder recipe is one I’ve experimented with before but, in an effort to increase the flavor and decrease the calories, I fiddled with it a bit and came up with this version. It’s a great way to make the best out of the last of the season's fresh corn. This soup is warm, comforting and will help you confront the upcoming colder weather with a full stomach.

This recipe serves four and I immediately divide the chowder into four storage containers to make sure I have the proper amount for my lunches.

1 medium onion chopped
1 Tb olive oil
4 14.5 oz cans of vegetable broth
5 medium ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob (reserve cobs)
2 medium Russet potatoes, cut into ½" cubes
1 dried bay leaf
1 Tb fresh rosemary, finely minced
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
salt and pepper
4 - 5 large fresh basil leaves

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, add onions and stir until they soft, about five minutes. Add stock, herbs and a bit of salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Throw in the potatoes and allow them to simmer in the stock for about 15 minutes. Next, add the corn kernels and season again with salt and pepper. This is also when I added a few of the reserved corn cobs to thicken up the soup with their starch (feel free to skip this step, but I thought it gave the soup a bit more body and worked out well).

While the corn is simmering, pour the cream into a bowl or large measuring cup. Ladle some of the warm stock from the pot a bit at a time to the cream until it comes up to room temperature or warmer. (Slowly warming the cream with the stock will ensure it doesn’t curdle when you add it to the pot.)

Let the corn simmer for a total of about 15 minutes before adding the cream. Season with salt and pepper and then let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes more. While the soup is on its last simmer, roll up the basil leaves and chop into threads.

When you’re ready to eat, garnish the bowls of chowder with fresh basil for an extra layer of flavor.

I served my soup with a peppery arugula and goat cheese salad


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