If you're like me and have been craving a good corn chowder, then look no further. Since it is late summer and sweet corn is at its peak, this recipe from the August issue of Southern Living is the perfect way to maximize a seasonal ingredient. Another bonus: this recipe only calls for 8 ingredients (including staples - salt, butter, and chicken broth) and feels less complicated than other chowders. I was a little concerned that the simplicity of the ingredients wouldn't build deep flavors but that fear was quickly put to rest when I smelled the butter, onions, thyme, and corn simmering together in the stock pot.
In all honesty, the most time-consuming part of this recipe was cutting the corn kernels off the cob. The recipe calls for 5 cups of fresh corn and I had absolutely no clue how many ears of corn that would require. Luckily, I had and extra pack of corn from the farmers' market in my fridge. I used 10 large ears of corn total and still came up a quarter cup short. Be warned that this recipe takes A LOT of corn! I also made a pretty big mess in my kitchen with kernels flying this way and that. Good thing we have a super useful hack for cutting corn off the cob and keeping it tidy. I'll remember that for next time.
Even though it takes time to prep the corn, it is incredibly rewarding to be able to taste and even smell the difference when making this dish from scratch. I loved that the recipe instructed me to simmer the chowder with two of the scraped corn cobs to add flavor. You could really taste a richness from that extra step.
Adding the diced potato to the chowder is a nice touch and gives it a thicker consistency. You could even add an extra potato or shrimp if you wanted to make it more of a main dish chowder. I skipped the step that instructs you to blend half a cup of the corn mixture and add it back to the pot. This step would also make the soup thicker but I was willing to forgo it to get dinner to the table quicker and it didn't seem to affect the flavor.
The chowder turned out better than expected. It is sweet, fresh, brothy, light, yet super-satisfying. I loved the deep corn flavor and how it was the star of the dish. I decided to serve ours alongside BLT sandwiches to round out the meal and it was a great accompaniment. There's just something so special about homemade soup. It's always flavorful and comforting, whether it's the dead of winter or a hot summer day (served with plenty of air-conditioning of course).