fb-pixel Skip to main content

Recipe: The hot summer has left plenty of sweet corn for this spicy chowder with potatoes

Spicy corn and potato chowder
Spicy corn and potato chowder Sheryl Julian for The Boston Globe

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer

The hot summer this year produced very sweet corn. Turn it into a chowder with chunks of golden potatoes, with poblanos and hot sauce for a slight heat. It’ll bring a warm finish to cooler evenings. A bit of cream stirred in at the end of simmering enriches the broth. Thicken the chowder with beurre manie (also called kneaded butter; think of it as a floured neighbor of the roux). For beurre manie, use a fork on a plate to mash 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter with 3 tablespoons of flour until they form a smooth paste. The paste will give body to the chowder, without adding lumpiness, and avoid giving it a floury taste. While comfort is always in season, this corn and potato chowder — as a main course or appetizer — will keep you firmly planted in summer nostalgia.


4ears fresh corn, shucked
2tablespoons olive oil
1onion, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1large poblano chile, cored, seeded and chopped
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1bay leaf
2medium Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes (1 pound total), cut into ¾-inch dice
4cups chicken stock
1cup water
1tablespoon liquid hot sauce, or more to taste
½cup heavy cream
3tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3tablespoons flour
Juice of 1 lemon
2tablespoons freshly snipped chives (for garnish)

1. Set an ear of corn on a cutting board and working from the thick to the narrow end, cut off 2 rows of kernels. Turn and cut off 2 or 3 more rows, and continue until all the corn is off the cob. Repeat with all the ears. Transfer the corn to a bowl.

2. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion with a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the celery and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes more. Add the poblano and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

4. Add the corn, potatoes, chicken stock, water, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender.


5. Stir in the cream and let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes, or until the liquid reduces slightly.

6. Meanwhile, on a plate with a fork, mash the butter and flour together to make a paste.

7. Turn the heat down to medium so the chowder is barely bubbling. Remove the bay leaf. With a rubber spatula, scrape the butter-flour paste into the chowder, stirring until it is fully incorporated. Simmer for 2 minutes more, stirring often; the chowder will thicken.

8. Add the lemon juice. Taste the chowder for seasoning and add more salt or hot sauce, if you like. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives. Lauren Allen

Lauren Allen can be reached at laurenaallen09@gmail.com.