I love corn chowder, but sometimes it can be a bit of a production to make a truly flavorful version of it. So I set out to develop a recipe that would deliver plenty of flavor without hours at the stove. By starting with really good, fresh sweet corn, leeks, and fingerling potatoes (all fall favorites at the farm stand), I was on my way. I also used the cobs, and corn “milk” scraped from the cobs, to boost the corn flavor in this recipe. Then the broth gets spiked with garlic, jalapeño, smoked paprika, and sriracha hot sauce. Finish with a shower of chives, and the result is a fresh, flavorful chowder in about an hour.
- 4 medium ears of sweet corn shucked
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups local leeks thinly sliced, well washed
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced, fresh
- 1 tablespoon fresh jalapeño seeded, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes cut into half-moons about 1/4 inch thick
- 2/3 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup chives sliced
- fresh ground black pepper
- 4 limes wedges
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha plus more to serve
Snap each ear of corn in half. Cut the kernels off the cobs, and reserve the cobs. You should have about 2 ½ cups of kernels. Use a knife to scrape the remaining corn “pulp” and milk off the cobs and into a large bowl. Leave the scraped cobs in the bowl with the pulp.
In a medium (5- to 6-quart) Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and ½ teaspoon of salt, stir, and cover loosely. Cook, uncovering occasionally to stir, until the leeks have softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue cooking the leeks until they begin to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes more. Add the garlic, jalapeño, paprika, 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, and the bay leaves and stir well. Add the reserved corn cobs and pulp, the potatoes, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about 12 minutes. Add the corn kernels and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, remove the corn cobs, and add the half-and-half, chives, several generous grinds of black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of Sriracha. Stir well.
Spoon into soup bowls. Serve with the lime wedges, and pass the Sriracha.