When I went to DC’s Dog Tag Bakery, making Creamy Corn Chowder was the farthest thing from my mind. After all, I was there to meet Betsy Eves, learn about the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program, and munch on cookies.
But as soon as I saw this book, I was smitten.
Have you ever seen a more beautiful smile than Father Rick Curry’s? And if that weren’t enough, there was the title – talk about the literary equivalent of “click bait”!
(Although his title on the book cover is Brother Rick Curry, I call him Father Curry. He published the book when he was a Jesuit brother and later became a Jesuit priest. Here’s a short explanation of the difference between the roles from the Jesuits’ own website.)
Read up on Father Rick Curry when you get the chance. He founded DC’s Dog Tag Bakery with businesswoman and philanthropist Connie Milstein. Besides his spirituality, caring for his fellow human beings, and incredible talents in many fields, Father Curry had boundless energy. Although he is no longer with us (he died in 2015), I feel his presence in the bakery and in the warmth of its staff and fellows.
As glanced over the recipes (organized by Catholic holidays), I wanted to make just about every one, except maybe Bean Sprout Soup. And after reading the ingredients, even that sounded appetizing, once I mentally re-named it Irish American pho.
I bookmarked the recipe for matzo balls. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or give Father Curry the benefit of the doubt on that one. As the weather cools, I’ll make his matzo balls and let you know whether I think the results are worthy of my homemade chicken soup.
Meanwhile, I turned his Cream of Corn Soup into Creamy Corn Chowder with a few ingredient substitutions, an added potato, and a quick buzz from my immersion blender.
Why is mine chowder and not simply soup? According to one of my favorite food trivia sites, TheKitchn, chowder is chunky and contains potato, usually in a cream base. Sounds like my recipe.
Eat Creamy Corn Chowder cold or warm it up, use it as a main dish with a side salad or as a first course in a bigger meal. Any which way, it’s a keeper in my book.
Creamy Corn Chowder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups yellow onion, finely chopped About 2 onion or 12 ounces.
- 3/4-1 cup Yukon gold or similar potato, cut into small dice (about 1/2-inch pieces) About 1 medium potato or 5-6 ounces.
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth Heated (microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 45-60 seconds) or heated almost to simmer in a saucepan.
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels Equal to 4 cobs. Retain the corn cobs for adding to the soup.
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt Plus more if desired.
- Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce Optional
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy pot. (Cast iron works well.) Add the chopped onion and diced potato. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is transparent, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the flour, lower the heat slightly, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the flour is absorbed and gets a chance to cook a bit.
Gradually add in the heated chicken broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and a bit thickened. Add in the white pepper.
Add in the corn kernels and bring the chowder to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the corn cobs, tilting them so that excess liquid drips back into the pot.
Then carefully transfer about 2 cups of the liquid and bits of corn, onion, and potato to a blender or a deep container into which you can fit an immersion blender. Puree the 2 cups of soup and pour it back into the large pot.
Add the milk, heavy cream, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir those ingredients into the chowder. Bring it to a simmer if you will serve the chowder hot, being careful not to let it boil once you've added the milk and cream. If serving cold, refrigerate the chowder.
Serve with Worchestershire sauce or hot sauce and extra salt.
An easy way to cut the kernels off the cob is here. If fresh corn not available, you can substitute two 10-ounce packages of frozen corn. Of course, if you use frozen corn, you won't have cobs to put in the chowder while it simmers. That's OK. The cobs do give the chowder a deeper corn flavor, but it will still be delicious without that step.
Father Curry's version uses 2 cups of light cream instead of the whole milk + heavy cream. (The only light cream at my local grocery contained chemical additives, so I decided that I would go additive-free with milk and heavy cream. See my post on the difference between heavy cream and whipping cream.) The whole milk/heavy cream ratio is basically equivalent to light cream, also known as table cream.