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Chowder. We are into the first week of autumn and chowder is the word I love now. Tonight, the temperature will dip into the 40’s. And I can’t bear to think what mornings will be like a in a couple of months.

The only hope is chowder. But, what is a chowder? It’s a fulfilling, and generally rich, soup that begins with a base of pork or bacon to which you add a mix of vegetables like onions, celery, carrots or potatoes. Or, corn. Summer may be over, but there is a bounty of corn out there to select and enjoy. Summer heat, and sweetness, continues in the corn, and chowder is the ideal home for those kernels.

This recipe is from Cook with Me by Alex Guarnaschelli [2020]. There is no other way to say this: Alex is the perfect cookbook author. The recipes are diverse, packing with excitement, and — best of all — they just work. Pick a recipe from Alex, and you are certain to have success.

Best of all in this recipe, you use all the corn. Even those corn cobs, because you are going to make corn stock. Ok, the tassels you still throw away. Not even Alex can find a way to use those.

Corn Chowder

Yield: serves 4 to 6


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 thin bacon strips, thinly sliced crosswise [mellow-flavored, not spicy, to avoid overpowering the corn]
  • 2 medium red onions, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 large ears fresh corn, husked, kernels sliced off the cobs, kernels and cobs reserved separately
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 3
  •  medium Idaho potatoes (I like to leave them unpeeled), diced small
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 quart (4 cups) half-and-half
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch lengths



MAKE THE SOUP BASE: In a soup pot, combine the oil and bacon and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the bacon becomes crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and set it aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. Add the onions to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the corn kernels and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the corn becomes translucent and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pot on the stove.

MAKE THE CORN STOCK: Meanwhile, put the corncobs in a medium pot and add enough water to cover them (about 8 cups). Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and simmer gently over medium-high heat until the liquid reduces by half, 12 to 15 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl and discard the cobs.

COOK THE POTATOES: Put the potatoes in the medium pot where you cooked the corn and add enough corn stock to cover them. Simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and any remaining cooking liquid, as well as any remaining unused corn stock, to the pot of cooked corn kernels. Add the garlic and the half-and-half and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the bacon and chives, and serve right away.

Source: Cook with Me by Alex Guarnaschelli [2020]