It’s really not so crazy, having a warm bowl of soup on a hot day. As chowders go, this is a light one, fragrant with thyme. In the interest of summer dining, we ate some of it warm and some of it chilled. We liked it both ways.
Admittedly, this one’s going to taste better after an hour or after a day’s refrigeration, so the corny flavor will have a chance to develop. So if you can wait, you'll be rewarded.
To make this vegetarian, skip the bacon fat and add an extra tablespoon of butter for sauteing the onion, seasoning it liberally with smoked Spanish paprika.
Double Corn Summer Chowder
Adapted from “Chowderland: Hearty Soups and Stews With Sides and Salads to Match,” by Brooke Dojny (Storey, 2015).
5 cups water
5 or 6 medium ears corn
12 ounces small yellow creamer potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 large onion
1 small bunch fresh thyme
4 ounces thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
Meanwhile, shuck the corn and remove any silk, then cut off and reserve the kernels (to yield at least 4 cups), placing the cobs in the boiling water as you work. Scrub the potatoes and add them to the pot, along with the salt.
Once the water has returned to a full boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Check the potatoes after the first 15 minutes; once they’re tender enough to be pierced with the sharp tip of a knife, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl. Discard the corn cobs, saving the corn broth.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop the onion. Remove the thyme leaves from their stems.
Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels. Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces; cook it in a separate pot over medium heat for about 6 minutes, stirring, until crisped. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to the plate to drain. You should have about 2 tablespoons of rendered fat in the pot; if there’s more, pour it off.
Stir the butter and chopped onion into the bacon fat; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, then sprinkle in the flour, whisking until well blended. Pour in 4 cups of the corn-cob broth. (If there’s any broth left over, strain, cool and freeze for another use.)
Add the reserved corn kernels, the cooked potatoes (cutting them in half or into chunks as you work), the half-and-half, thyme leaves and sugar; cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the corn and potatoes are warmed through.
Stir in the crisped bacon. Taste, and season with pepper and additional salt, as needed. Divide among bowls and serve warm, or refrigerate overnight and serve warm or chilled.
Per serving: 500 calories, 14 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 28 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar
Yield: 4 servings (makes about 10 1/2 cups).