My best corn chowder recipe yet!
There’s corn chowder..then there’s corn chowder
I’ve made corn chowder many times with many recipes but this one…this one is the best yet.
Some chowders use vegetable or chicken stock, some use a combination of stock and milk. Some are thin and runny, some are like spackling compound, some are just right. This corn chowder is, in my humble estimation, the Goldilocks of corn chowder.
Why? I use all milk, whole milk preferred, for the base. Basically, the base is a Bechamel sauce seasoned to perfection. But best of all, you can adjust the taste to your preference because you’re starting with a base of Bechamel.
I begin with onions, sauteed in butter until I get a nice, gentle fragrance of sweet onion. Then, I add the garlic and cook it until I get a hint of garlic fragrance. Now here’s the best part. I then add the corn and milk then start to season the corn chowder with pepper, salt, and paprika. Oh, a little bit of Worcestershire sauce also. Your taste is your guide. You can use Tabasco also. All you want is to taste a change in the base, not the Worcestershire or Tabasco.
The recipe is fast, taking about thirty or forty minutes to make. That’s not including the husking of the corn or prep. The prep is simple, dice the onions, dice the potatoes, dice the celery, dice the pepper, and mince the garlic. Then it’s on to the pot. Whizz up one cup of corn with one cup of milk to extract more corn flavor…fresh corn is always better. Add that to the pot with the rest of the milk and whole kernels.
I use a roux to thicken the corn chowder. Roux is simply butter and flour in equal proportions. One tablespoon of flour to one tablespoon of butter is the ratio. You can use any fat but butter works best in my experience. Just melt the butter and add the flour, cook until the flour smell is gone and it smells a little nutty and the color is light blond. Take it off the heat and boom, your roux is done. The longer the roux cooks the less thickening power it has so go easy on the time.
How much roux is enough?
Here’s a simple rule of thumb for the roux. There are four cups in a quart and to thicken one quart of milk use four ounces of roux. That’s two tablespoons of butter with two tablespoons of flour. Four to four for thickening, simple. Use one part less roux for thinner corn chowder, one part more for thicker.
As always with a roux, bring the temperature of the milk to a high simmer and then add the roux. The mixture needs heat to activate the thickening. It will start to thicken within a minute or two. Stir constantly to avoid scorching the milk. For this recipe, I suggest you start with two ounces of roux and add more if you feel the need.
Mis en Place
Before cooking, get your mise en place ready. That means read the recipe and do your prep. Get the corn/milk set up, make the roux, measure your ingredients. What is mise en place you ask? See the video below on our YouTube channel.
Like I said, this is a simple and quick corn chowder recipe with lots of opportunities to express your own taste preference. Give it a go and let me know how it came out.
A short video on Mise en Place