I love September. I’ve always been a fall and winter kind of girl, but these next three months are my favorite of the year. September is one of the best times in the season for produce. We still have the amazing summer produce but the fall produce is slowly entering the market as well. But before I can say hello to fall (PSL returned to Starbucks way too early this year – fight me), I have to give summer a big send-off. And the best way I can do that is with corn chowder.
I mean, you gotta love corn when it’s only $0.50 each. But this late in the season, we’re probably all tired of grilled corn. Don’t get me wrong, I love corn, it’s just nice to have a bit of variety. Corn chowder is easy to make. I also feel it’s a great transition between summer and fall. Cause let’s face it, no one wants to really eat soup in the summer and soup is the perfect fall comfort dish. This recipe is dairy free as I rely on cornstarch to thicken it up to keep that gorgeous bright yellow coloring from the corn. This chowder is a great way to get a whole bunch of vegetables into your diet. You don’t need to use the produce I listed in the ingredients, that’s the beauty of cooking. Use what you have in your fridge if you want to experiment! Just remember to dice everything to be about the same size. This helps uniformity in cooking time of all the vegetables, but it also better texturally when eating. Having everything bite sized is just better.
Don’t ever throw away the cobs after cutting off the corn! That’s where all the flavor is! This recipe uses broth that is made from the corn cobs. Some water, corn cobs, maybe even some vegetable scraps, and one hour of simmering can create some of the most flavorful broth required for this chowder.
So I used fresh clams in this chowder, but they’re totally optional. The chowder is amazing as-is with just the veggies! I threw in some clams as I was at the market and spotted them and decided clam and chowder just go hand-in-hand. One thing about clams is they can vary in salinity. That’s why I don’t recommend salting the soup heavily from the beginning. For starters, the clams need to be soaked in fresh cold water at least 20 minutes before they’re cooked. This allows the clams some time to filter out the salt water that’s still inside of them. It also allows them to spit out any sand that’s inside of them as well. Second, I always do a taste test at the end to adjust salt levels. Once clams are cooked and open, they release whatever salt is inside of them. So if you’ve salted your soup already, there if a possibility of it becoming too salty. It’s always easier to add salt instead of taking it out. Don’t have access to fresh clams but still want to add some sort of seafood? Scallops, shrimp, squid, or even a white fish would work!
My green thumb is horrible. But I took a stab at growing some edible flowers though as some Instagram friends have inspired me by their amazing gardens. I used my Click & Grow Smart Garden as (a) I never remember to water my plants and (b) I need all the help I can when it comes to growing plants. I grew three different types of edible flowers and only one has any sort of buds. Luckily for me, they were these gorgeous blue cornflowers that I used to top off the soup pot.
- 5 cobs of fresh corn
- 6 cups water
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 6 carrots, diced into cubes
- 1 bunch celery, diced into cubes
- 3 medium red skin potatoes, diced into cubes
- 1 bell pepper, diced into cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 pounds fresh live clams, optional
- Step 1 Cut the corn off the cobs and set corn aside.
- Step 2 In a pot, bring the water to a boil and add the corn cobs (optional, but you can also throw in the ends and skin of the shallots and onions). Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for an hour.
- Step 3 Place clams in a large bowl with fresh cold water for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking.
- Step 4 In a large pot, melt butter and cook shallots until they’re close to translucent.
- Step 5 Add carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaves and cook for about 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper each. Add bell peppers and potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Step 6 Strain the corn broth and add into the pot. Bring to a boil and add clams. Turn down to a simmer.
- Step 7 Mix cornstarch with about 1/4-1/2 cup of corn broth to make a slurry. Add slurry to pot and stir well into soup.
- Step 8 Taste test to adjust salt and pepper.