Saturday, October 31, 2009

Corn Chowder

I learned this recipe from the bosses at my previous job - every semester they make a huge pot of corn chowder for new volunteers who are training to answer phones at the crisis hotline. They are the masters of soup, at least in my book. Thanks, K and H!

The cheese is my favorite part, but depending on your preference, you may want not want a strong cheese flavor. For this size pot of soup, the minimum amount of cheese is about 8 oz. (which is a standard size block of cheese). In my workup, I used about one and a half blocks of cheddar, and it was pretty tasty. The biggest thing to attend to is keeping the heat low or off once dairy has been added. A nice soup can go to waste if you curdle the milk. It's no problem to reheat this later, as long as you don't allow the mixture to boil.


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 large white potatoes, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of thyme
  • 3 bouillon cubes (chicken or vegetarian) **
  • 2 lbs. frozen corn
  • 8 to 16 oz. cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded **
  • milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Heat a stockpot to medium-low heat.
  2. Melt butter in pan. Add garlic and saute until brown.
  3. Add onion. Cook until onions are soft and translucent; about 10 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes to the stockpot, then pour in enough water to cover the potatoes.
  5. Add bay leaves, thyme, and bouillon cubes. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until potatoes are completely cooked and tender.
  6. Add corn and simmer until heated throughout.
  7. Turn heat off. Add cheese and stir well. Pour in enough milk to change the color of the liquid, stir well.
  8. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
**For a gluten-free diet, make sure to use gluten-free bouillon cubes, as well as cheese that was made using gluten-free caking agents, such as Cabot cheese.

This recipe is really flexible because you can add anything you like. If you want to add ham or bacon, cook the meat before the onion goes in. The fat will add flavor that will carry throughout the dish. If you want other vegetables, add them in right before or after the potatoes (depending on soft they are, this will change how much time they need to cook). With regard to the spices, I have often had this recipe with cumin seed replacing the thyme - it is quite nice.


  1. I sometimes make my corn chowder into New England fish chowder by adding some fresh or frozen filets to simmer before the milk goes in. Never tried adding cheese, though. Looks yummy, once again!

  2. Delicious! I always make it with cumin seed, although I sometimes add thyme as well.

    If you want to be thoroughly ridiculous, make it as a real chowder sometime--omit the milk and use cream instead. I can't take it that way very often, but it's delightful!

    There are people who don't like cheese flavor? What is _wrong_ with people these days?