Sweet Corn Chowder

Summer calls for lighter meals, and this chowder delivers with a healthier take on a classic. The soup is thickened by pureeing part of it in a blender, eliminating the need for flour or cream. Fresh sage and a hint of chile pepper flakes give it a subtle, smoky flavor. We suggest using grilled or roasted corn but thawed frozen kernels will work well in a pinch.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 15 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 2 large ears)

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced 3/8 inch thick

6 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Generous pinch of chile pepper flakes, plus more for garnishing

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed

3 cups vegetable stock or Corn Broth, recipe follows

Homemade Corn Broth:

5 cooked ears of corn

1 teaspoon kosher salt

10 whole peppercorns, black or white

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 dried bay leaf

1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot until shimmering. Add the onion and saute until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn, potatoes, sage and chile pepper flakes; saute for 1 minute. Season with salt. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Carefully pour half the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth-remember the soup is hot, so be careful. Stir the pureed mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup. Taste the soup and add more salt, if desired. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a few chile flakes and serve hot. 

Homemade Corn Broth:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob (see Cook's Note); reserve the kernels for a later use.
  2. Using the side of a spoon or a butter knife, scrape down the sides of the cobs into a deep stockpot to release the "milk" and loosen any bits of corn. Add 8 cups water to the pot, along with the salt, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf and onion. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the broth cook for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the vegetables and bits of corn (a pot lined with cheesecloth works well too). The broth is now ready to use as a base for soups, stews and sauces. If not using immediately, transfer to glass jars and let cool completely. Store tightly covered in the fridge for up to 1week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Cook’s Note

Easy Upgrade: Crispy fried sage leaves add elegance to this soup with little effort. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in an 8-inch nonstick skillet. Add the leaves a few at a time. They'll shrink and crisp up in a few seconds. Use a fork to lift them out of the pan, and let them drain on a paper-towel-lined plate for 1 minute. Use immediately to garnish the soup. Technique Tip: Break the ears in half before cutting off the kernels. The smaller size and flat edge where it's broken allows for a sturdier grip when holding the cob on a cutting board.

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