Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder

Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder is one of the first meals I ever made for myself, and it continues to be a beloved favorite ~ I can’t wait for you to try it!

creamy and comforting corn chowder

Some recipes just become part of your life.  That’s the case with this one.  I’ve been making Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder ever since I discovered Anna Thomas’  The Vegetarian Epicure in college.  The book defined vegetarian cooking for a generation, and even though it predates the current trend toward lower fat foods, many of its recipes remain classics.  The book is charmingly written and illustrated, and I highly recommend it.  I’m so excited because Anna has agreed to do an interview with TVFGI, so stay tuned later this month, when I’ll chat with her, learn more about The Vegetarian Epicure (which she wrote in college!) and hear about what she’s up to today, which may surprise you.

Corn and cheddar cheese chowder

I make this chowder all year round, but right now is the ideal time to enjoy it, when corn is still fabulous but our thoughts are starting to turn toward fall.  Yes, it’s made with cream, but it is hearty enough to be a dinner all by itself.   I served ours with earthy Pumpernickel Biscuits.  (I’ll be posting the recipe for them on Tuesday)  The recipe, below, is slightly adapted from the original, which was inevitable because I have been making it for years and have adjusted it to suit my particular tastes.  One thing I have never changed, however, is the unusual combination of sage, cumin seed and nutmeg which gives the soup a unique flavor profile.

Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder

Yield: serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 3 medium white thin skinned potatoes, diced (no need to peel)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour (leave out for gluten free)
  • splash of dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups cream (or half and half)
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (the sharper the better)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh chives

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, place the potatoes, bay leaves, sage, cumin seed and salt. Add water to just barely cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are mostly cooked but still firm. They will continue cooking in the soup. Add a little more water if the level sinks too low.
  2. In a stock pot or soup pan, melt the butter and saute the onions until they are softened. Add the flour and cook for a minute. Add the splash of wine and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated. Whisk in the cream, making sure to get all the flour and onions off the bottom of the pan and incorporated into the cream.
  3. Add the potatoes and their water along with the corn kernels. Add the nutmeg and pepper and bring it up to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the corn is tender. Stir often and make sure it doesn't boil furiously. It should be kept at a gentle simmer.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the chopped parsley and chives. Take off the heat, add the cheese and stir until it is melted. It is important to taste the soup now and adjust the seasonings. Serve the soup garnished with a little more chopped chives.

Notes

You can definitely cut fat and calories by using whole milk in place of cream, but then I would leave out the wine, which can cause curdling, since milk based soups are more fragile than cream based. Likewise be careful to take the soup off the heat before you add the cheese, or it can curdle as well. This soup is good enough to warrant some experimentation to find your perfect blend. I've made it many different combinations of milk, cream and half and half, depending on my mood. This recipe is slightly adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/corn-and-cheddar-cheese-chowder/

Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder is classic comfort food!

This soup is a simple combination of ingredients that is so good, I hope you give it a try.  I like to usher in the fall with a big bowl.   For my interview with Anna, though, I think I’ll branch out and choose a recipe that I’ve never tried from The Vegetarian Epicure books, any ideas?

23 Comments

  • Reply
    J. Herendeen
    June 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I just made this and it is yummy. However I simplified the procedure as follows. I boiled the unpeeled potatoes in a pot of bailing water while in another pot I cooked the onion in the butter and also added a couple cloves of garlic minced. Then the other dry ingredients and the flour and gradually added milk ( cutting down of calories in cream ) which essentially makes it into what we used to call a white sauce but thinned to how you like it. Added the corn and the cooked and cut up potatoes. I didn’t have any cumin. Remember to “correct” the seasoning i.e. salt and pepper after bringing it all together.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing your version, J. :)

  • Reply
    Yvonne
    October 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Just made this for dinner, delicious! Perfect for the fall weather upon us. Love the nutmeg touch.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      It’s been a family favorite in our house for so many years, glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    Meagan
    September 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I’m positively drooling over this, Sue! Just a lovely, hearty use for all the corn that’s on and popping at my local farm stands these days! Fantastic recipe!!

  • Reply
    SallyBR
    September 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Love her books, including the last one, Love Soup

    From her Vegetarian Epicure, I made the broccoli souffle which I blogged about, with a small review of the book – she was absolutely adorable in her email exchanges with me when I asked permission to publish her recipe. If you don’t mind me including the link to my post, here it is

    http://bewitchingkitchen.com/tag/broccoli-souffle/

    if you don’t want to include the link, please feel free to delete it, and I won’t do it again, ok?

    http://bewitchingkitchen.com/2013/02/20/broccoli-walnut-souffle-from-a-special-cookbook/

    This sounds like a great chowder, I should pin it right away!

    My regards to Anna Thomas, I am sure the interview will be great!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      I’ll have to try the souffle, I’ve never made it. It’s nice to meet a fellow Vegetarian Epicure lover!

      • Reply
        SallyBR
        September 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        Sorry for the double link… I messed up… (sigh)

  • Reply
    Arleen
    September 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Love Love your recipes!!!! Finally recipes with lots of veggies,herbs,grains and fish :)))
    Soup was fantastic!!
    Keep up the good work!!

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    September 10, 2013 at 9:20 am

    That is a unique mix of spices. Can’t wait to try this. Today it got a bit cooler so this may be calling today!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 10, 2013 at 9:53 am

      I agree, I think the interesting herb and spice combination is one of the things that makes this soup special.

  • Reply
    Joanne
    September 10, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Now this is just the chowder recipe I’ve been craving and searching for!!

    You know I’ve never seen any of the vegetarian epicure books?! So excited for your interview!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 10, 2013 at 6:36 am

      Thanks Joanne—you should pick one up if you see it, I’ve gone through several editions because mine fall apart from so much use!

  • Reply
    Denise @ magnoliaverandah
    September 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Pinned for the future. We are leaving soup weather behind – hopefully! Looks great though.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 9, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Thanks Denise! Enjoy your spring!

  • Reply
    The Café Sucre Farine
    September 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    This looks so good Sue. I just told my husband that I wasn’t hungry but I’ve just changed my mind!

  • Reply
    Dom
    September 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    pretty soup… I can imagine how incredibly stuffed with flavour it is… I too have one or two absolute classics that I used pull out of the hat but since blogging i’ve not done them in ages… my mushroom and chestnut soup is one of them and now i’m inspired to revisit it, so thank you… pretty tiles too by the way !

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 9, 2013 at 4:38 am

      There are so many old favorites that never get made anymore in our house due to the demands of blogging…I need you to post that mushroom and chestnut soup, my friend!

  • Reply
    Julie
    September 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Hi This looks wonderful. The save feature is working but the print feature does not seem to work today.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 9, 2013 at 4:45 am

      So sorry about the printing, I’ll check into it right now, hope you’ll try again!

  • Reply
    Karen Harris
    September 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    This does look wonderful. I make a version of this with chicken and bacon but sometimes a meatless option is welcomed by everyone. I can’t wait to see your interview and see the recipe for those biscuits.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 9, 2013 at 4:46 am

      Thanks Karen, I think I’ll try bacon in the next one I make. I also sometimes add salmon.

  • Reply
    Mary
    September 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    This looks wonderful, Sue! We were thinking along the same lines this week.:) I love a great chowder!

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