Corn and Basil Chowder

Guys, we get corn this week! Are you as excited as I am? Maybe you will be if you have a nice, easy corn recipe to try. This is not really chowder, but it sounds so much nicer than calling it a soup.

This is my old faithful variation on a corn, basil, and tomato salad that I will post when we have tomatoes. Instead, I flesh this out with pimentòn de la vera. The barest hint of smoke and spice adds a bacon-esque richness to what is otherwise a very lean soup; a squeeze of lime brightens the flavors. Making a stock from the cobs and basil stems gives the soup a little more depth.

I made sure to keep boiling time to a minimum, since the entire point of summer cooking is to stay away from the stove whenever possible. 

-Moriah Simmons

Corn and Basil Chowder

  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 4 c water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika (I used agridulce, but hot or sweet would also work)
  • 1c basil leaves, lightly packed (reserve the stems)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lime

Using a sharp knife, slice the kernels of corn from the cob. Reserve corn, and place the cobs and basil stems in a large pot. Cover with the water, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.

Chiffonade the basil leaves, set aside. Mince the garlic.

In a small skillet, heat the butter on medium-high until it foams. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 minutes or until fragrant.  Remove from heat. Stir in paprika and salt.

Turn off the simmering pot of cobs. Discard the basil stems. Lift the cobs out of the water with tongs and shake excess water into the pot. Transfer to a cutting board and hold with the tongs in one hand while you scrape the last bits of corn off with the back of your knife. Discard cobs, add corn scrapings to the pot.

Add garlic mixture, corn kernels, and basil to the pot of corn stock. Squeeze the lime half over the pot and add a few grinds of black pepper. Stir everything up and taste it. Add more salt or pepper if you like.

Serve warm, room-temperature, or cold. The flavors develop after a day or two in the refrigerator, and the soup keeps up to a week. Makes an excellent breakfast on days you don’t want to cook.

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2 responses

  1. Hey Moriah,

    Fellow CSA-er and RH resident here. Looks great, and I plan on giving it a go tomorrow. I’m unclear, though, what to do with the corn scrapings (kernels) — how long do you cook them in the stock? Or do you boil the entire cob before you even start?


  2. Hi Adam. Boil the cobs 15 minutes in the stock. Then remove the cobs, scrape them when cool enough to handle, and add the scrapings back to the pot with the whole kernels and stock. Hope this clears up your question, and let us know how your batch turns out!

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