When I put together our meal plan for the week, I had a lot of light dinners planned, but Mother Nature apparently had other ideas. It was a balmy 56 degrees when I left work yesterday, and the salad I had planned for our dinner just didn’t sound substantial enough. I did a quick mental inventory of what we had at home, and realized I had everything we needed to put together a pot of soup – corn cheddar chowder, to be exact. Along with crusty sourdough rolls and a Marlow-inspired salad of baby arugula, peaches, basil and radish, it was just the thing to take the chill off a damp August night.
Corn Cheddar Chowder
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup sliced scallions
4 cups corn kernels
1 quart chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock or water)
8-10 small red potatoes, cut into about 1 inch chunks
1 cup chopped roasted red/yellow bell peppers
cayenne pepper to taste*
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve a bit for garnish)
Additional chopped scallions for garnish
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot and add onion and scallions. Season with salt and cook briefly until softened. Add corn, stock, potatoes, peppers, cayenne and sherry vinegar, stir and cover. Simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes. Taste and add additional salt, cayenne or vinegar if necessary. Off the heat, puree about half of the soup using an immersion blender (or food processor, or regular blender). Put the chowder back over medium-low heat and add the shredded cheese a little at a time, stirring well to incorporate. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of cheese and chopped scallions.
*(Edited to add: In response to comments, I have adjusted the cayenne in this recipe to read “to taste.” I like my chowder spicy so I add a lot, but use as much or as little cayenne as you’d like.)