Sweet corn is one of the foods I look forward to the most during the summer, but specifically the local corn from a farm not even five minutes from our home: Morning Glory Farm. This island farm grows some of the sweetest, most delicious corn, and one I love to eat in all shapes and forms. Today, I’m sharing this Mexican Street Corn Chowder in hopes that you make a double or quadruple batch to freeze for those winter months when corn is all but a faraway dream. Don’t say I don’t let you in on my secrets, I just gave away the most precious one!
If you’ve ever had Mexican Street Corn or “Elotes”, you’re going to love this recipe because it’s the same ingredients and flavor profile as the corn on the cob, but in a creamy chowder version that’s so delicious, you won’t know what hit you.
The steamed corn in elote is typically slathered in mayonnaise and coated in cotija cheese, paprika, and cilantro, so in this chowder recipe, I recreated these flavors right in the soup, except the mayonnaise of course, which I replaced with half and half, for the unctuous and creamy texture.
This corn chowder starts like most of my soup recipes, with a blend of onion, celery, and carrots – the traditionally French “mirepoix” that we all know and love always bring the base flavors. To that, I’ll add freshly shucked corn kernels that are sautéed with spices, cooked over medium high heat to get some caramelization going. Remember that browned vegetables mean flavor, so work on that! Nothing I hate more than soup recipes that don’t take the time to really sauté their produce and bring out those flavors. Good chowder takes time – so take your time!
Once the vegetables are all caramelized and sautéed, I add flour and a touch more butter or oil to make a roux. This will thicken my soup into the chowder it will become. Once the roux has cooked for five minutes, add stock – you can use vegetable or chicken stock, whatever you have at hand, and reduce the heat to low, to cook for a bit. Once it’s ready, I pour in half and half – or heavy cream if you’re feeling crazy, and simmer for another five to ten minutes so all the flavors meld.
To serve, it all comes together by pouring a bowl of the corn chowder and topping it with cotija cheese, smoked paprika and dark chili powder, fresh cilantro, and serving it alongside lime wedges for that added punch.
If you can get fresh corn to make this recipe, do so. But if you’re reading this in the middle of winter and don’t have fresh corn available, frozen or canned will work too. I don’t think anyone should miss out on this flavorful chowder – so go forth and conquer corn chowder!
- 2-3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6- 8 ears fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ tablespoon dark chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups half and half
- salt and pepper, to taste
- to serve: smoked paprika, fresh corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.
- Sauté until aromatic, about ten minutes. Add the corn, paprika, chili powder, and cumin. Let the spices cook for a few minutes so they develop and release their essential oils.
- To make a roux to thicken the chowder, you can add the flour directly to this mixture, but if it needs more fat, add an extra tablespoon or two or oil or butter. This will help the roux come together.
- Let the roux cook for ten minutes and then whisk in your stock. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
- Once soup has simmer, add the half and half, salt, and pepper to taste.
- To serve, top each hot soup bowl with cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh corn kernels (adds great texture), and a pinch of smoked paprika.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE? I want to see it! Follow Cooking with Books on Instagram, take a photo, and tag me in it. I love to know what you are making and how you made this recipe your own!