Sweet Corn Chowder – Summer Recipe


I have never smelled something so heavenly as onions cooking in salt pork. If there is one thing I learned from this excursion into corn chowder let it be that. A couple weeks ago we went out to celebrate the baptism of Jeff’s Nephew/god child. We ate at a tasty restaurant simply called The Café in Ames, Iowa. The daily specials included corn chowder, which I think everyone at the table ordered and devoured. It was kind of pricy at $6 for an appetizer sized serving.  It’s had me hankering to make my own corn chowder ever since.

I turned to my favorite cookbook, Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe. They have a recipe for corn chowder and it is long and involved. But I trust in their recipes and couldn't stop thinking about that soup and I wanted to make it.

To get the freshest corn we stopped at the road side stand and got ten ears. Then we visited the local butcher to get the salt pork and the grocery store to get whole milk and cream. Then the garden to get parsley and thyme. I have now invested way too much time into just the ingredients and I still have to milk the corn. You heard me right. I said, “milk the corn”. Luckily Cook’s Illustrated had a nice illustration of how to milk the corn and I’ll show you too.

Was the corn chowder worth all the work? A big fat fatty yes! It is the type of chowder that melts in your mouth with the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The depth is incredible. First it’s the sweet corn then the salty pork then the earthy parsley and thyme all in a creamy milky texture. This is the type of recipe that I am going to have to make at least once a summer. It’s awful rich and time consuming for more than that. But you better believe I’ll be looking forward to it every time.

This corn chowder is rich enough that a simple slice of bread and a glass of water is all you need to make a meal. And let’s face it all that cream and pork fat makes it a pretty dense dish.

The ingredients:

Summer Sweet Corn Chowder
10 medium ears of fresh yellow corn, husks and silks removed
2 ounces of salt pork, trimmed of rind and cut in half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, preferably Spanish, chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth (I used turkey and it was delish)
2 medium red potatoes diced into ¼ inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup cream
2 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Prepare the corn.
Cut the kernels off four of the ears of corn. It is easiest to cut the ear in half and then use a chef’s knife to cut downwards along the ear. You don’t want to go so deep that you get any cob, just nice juicy kernels of corn. Set aside, you should have roughly 3 cups.

Milk the remaining six ears and the cobs you cut the kernels off. To do this use the coarsest side of your grater and grate the corn off. Then use the back of your knife to scrape off any remaining pulp and juice. You should have about 2 cups of pulp and corn juice.

Step 2: In a heavy deep pan like a Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté the salt pork over medium heat, use a flat spatula to press down on the salt pork to help the fat come out as you cook it for about 10 minutes or until both sides of the pork fat are nice and crackling brown. Reduce the heat to low and then add the butter and onions. Cover and cook until softened about 12 minutes. Remove the salt pork and reserve. Add the minced garlic and sauté one minute. Then you’re going to make a roué by adding the flour and whisking it in. Then slowly add the stock whisking as you go.

Step 3: Add the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, whole milk, corn pulp and then add back in the salt pork. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the potatoes are almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Now add in the corn kernels and heavy cream and return to a simmer; simmer until the corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Take out the bay leaf and salt pork. Serve with a big smile on your face, because you know this will be the most wonderful corn chowder of the summer!

This post was featured on Two for Tuesdays Blog Hop Vol. 12.


  1. Soo much corn been looking for something to do with it. Great post!

  2. I love corn chowder. I haven't made it yet because we have had such a hot summer. I have used a very similar recipe, but without "milking" the corn. That was new to me. Thanks for adding a new trick to my repetoire.

  3. What a interesting recipe!
    Good luck with the contest. I can't wait to see what's next!

  4. Anonymous8/30/2010

    Oh wow, I love corn chowder...and this just looks excellent!

  5. This would be a wonderful chowder recipe for fall/autumn chilly nights. I'm bookmarking it now. Love your photography too :)

  6. I also love corn chowder and Cook's Illustrated. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I am going to use up some of my corn and give it a try!

  7. I'm officially about to start drooling. This looks fantastic! So many corn chowders are too thin--this one looks all creamy, dreamy, and delicious!

  8. Great recipe for me. I love corns and it looks delicious!

  9. Dude, he's your nephew, too...?

  10. This looks incredibly good!

  11. Anonymous8/30/2010

    Mmm, love corn chowder!

  12. Anonymous8/30/2010

    Ahh...I was wondering what that beautiful photo of the sweet corn was a prelude to. Absolutely fantastic recipe!

  13. This looks fantastic, absolutely divine..I have never used salt pork in my corn chowder but I am going to start!

  14. I am drooling, really! I have never "milked" corn but I will be trying this recipe soon - before corn season ends! Thanks for linking this to Two for Tuesdays!

  15. This seems like a lot of work but the end result appears to be worth the effort. This looks good, thanks.

  16. I ADORE corn chowder, and I love to learn new things. I have never milked corn before, but I certainly will be doing it when I make this recipe. I will also be sharing it on my blog hop highlights in my thoughts on friday link love post this week! Awesome stuff! Thanks for sharing on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! Alex@amoderatelife

  17. Goodness gracious! Another corn recipe for me to try out once summer school ends! I've still not made anything with corn this summer :-( This will be perfect :-)

  18. Okay woman...that is a thing of beauty! I couldn't agree more about the scent of pork and onion...pretty heavenly ;) I would love a big, gorgeous bowl of this. Thank you for sharing it with T4T this week!

  19. Hey!! I just noticed you live in Valpo! I'm in South Bend...we're not too far =)

  20. This looks delicious and the corn is ripening now. I have saved the recipe and am really looking forward to making this soup. I also bookmarked your site, looks like a great source for recipes.


  21. I really enjoyed your post. I had never heard of 'milking' corn, but I can see it has made a huge difference to the chowder. Thanks for showing us how! I love your recipe, it sounds absolutely delicious.

  22. nice recipe, like the potatoes addition

  23. So worth it. The potatoes add such a nice thickness too. So sad to see summer coming to an end. No more sweet, sweet corn for things like this.

  24. Oh my, this sounds so wonderful! I would say well worth all your effort. And great post by the way, love all the different shots of the steps, I think I am going to post a link to you on my page, I'm sure my friends would enjoy this!

  25. Saw your blog through FoodBuzz...
    You had me at "I have never smelled something so heavenly as onions cooking in salt pork." I couldn't agree more.

  26. I will be so sad when all the wonderful corn is gone at the end of the summer. We eat it most every day when it's in season.

  27. Whoa! Your photos are so enticing, Foy. I want a bowl of this now, and I'm pretty full (smile). Yum...

  28. This soup looks so good I want some now. Sad that I have to wait a few more months before that can be a reality.

  29. slurp slurp! would love to try some!!

    Have a fabulous week!!
    jen @ www.passion4food.ca

  30. Anonymous9/06/2010


    Sorry, but I don't see the quantity mentioned for whole milk or heavy cream in the recipe, are we to use everything in the ingredients picture?

  31. You're right! I must have left the milk and cream off. I'll go in and edit, but for the record it's 1 cup cream and 2 cups whole milk.

  32. Corn chowder is definitely one of my favorite soups! This sounds and looks absolutely amazing and I can not wait to try it out!!!

  33. I LOVE corn chowder, must try your recipe. I hope you don't mind me sharing it on my Blog Fests (so I know where to find the link in the future!) Lisa

  34. Hello! I’m stopping in to invite you to join us at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope to see you there!
    The Chicken Chick