By Aube Giroux
This is a light, summery chowder best made with fresh sweet corn and new potatoes. The addition of cream and cornmeal gives it a velvety texture that is creamy but not too thick. The chipotle is optional as it can be quite spicy and overpowering for some. For a GMO-free chowder, you’ll want to watch out for the following ingredients to be either organically grown or non-GMO-certified: sweet corn, bacon, chicken stock, cornmeal and cream.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 small bunch of fresh thyme (about 15 sprigs)
4 ears of sweet corn
4 slices bacon, finely chopped, or 2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tbsp finely chopped chives or green onion
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup cornmeal or corn flour
2 to 3 cups cubed potatoes (new potatoes are best), skin on or off
1 canned (or dried and rehydrated) chipotle chile, finely chopped (optional)
2 cups 10% cream
1 tsp smoked paprika
Using a short length of kitchen twine, tie together one-half of the thyme sprigs; reserve the other one-half of the sprigs for garnish. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from the ears of corn; set the kernels aside. In a medium stockpot over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in the celery, chives, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
Stir in the broth and the tied thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Transfer 1/2 cup of the liquid to a medium bowl. Add the cornmeal to the bowl, whisking until smooth. Stir the cornmeal mixture back into the chowder. Stir in the potatoes and chipotle (start with one-half of the chopped chipotle and add more if desired, to taste). Cook 10 minutes and then stir in the corn kernels. Cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cream and paprika and cook until just heated through, about 2 minutes. (After the cream is added, do not allow the chowder to boil.) Remove and discard the tied thyme sprigs. Garnish with sprigs of thyme or chives and serve with warm crusty bread.