By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards
I am a huge fan of the delicious summer veggies that come with living in California and the tail end of summer seems to give us the cream of the crop (pun intended). Having easy access to what is arguably the best corn in the world here in the east Bay Area, I’m going to eat it at nearly every chance I get. A hearty, chunky corn chowder is one of my all-time favorite dishes and it’s even more excellent alongside our yummy McGrail Family Chardonnay. This chowder is filling, but so fresh and flavorful. I can’t get enough. I hope you enjoy this tasty summertime treat as much as I do!
For those who are vegan or vegetarian, I have included substitution suggestions for this recipe below.
Hearty Gourmet Corn Chowder
Makes about 8 servings.
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 7 oz.)
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- Kernels cut from 8 ears fresh corn (approx. 3.5 lbs. or 9 cups), cleaned with husks and silks removed (I used 6 yellow ears and 2 white ears)
- 4 medium-large red potatoes (about 1.25 lbs.), cut into ½” pieces
- ½ tsp. fresh thyme
- ½ tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. dry oregano
- ½ tsp. dry basil
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup skim milk
- Optional: Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese and chopped fresh chives
Make it vegan by cutting out bacon, subbing butter for vegan butter or olive oil, subbing chicken broth for vegetable broth, and subbing skim milk for unsweetened plain almond milk. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top for an added cheesy flavor.
- In a large, thick-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until crispy. Remove cooked bacon from pot and place on a paper-towel-covered plate.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add butter to pot with bacon grease and allow to melt.
- Brown onion and garlic in butter.
- Whisk corn meal into butter for about 1 minute. Continue whisking while adding in chicken broth and water. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring while soup comes to a boil.
- Once at a boil, stir corn kernels, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper into broth mix. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 (or until potatoes are soft), stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaf from pot. In a blender, liquify 2 ½ cups soup, then pour back into pot. Add milk. Stir well.
- Serve chowder with an optional sprinkling of freshly grated cheddar cheese and chopped chives and a bottle of McGrail Family Chardonnay. Cheers!
Please let us know if you end up making this hearty gourmet corn chowder and McGrail Family Chardonnay pairing! We’d love to hear from you.
Cheers and enjoy!