Soup’s on

soup & salad

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.)

10 thoughts on “Soup’s on

  1. It’s interesting how much food correlates with weather – I always thought “light” summer foods just had to do with what was in season, but I guess even on a cold summer day, the typical summer food won’t do! We need to be warmed somehow I guess…whether it be from the outside, or the inside.

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Very true! And while it felt a little odd making soup in August, I had to remind myself that all of the veggies that went into it were from the Greenmarket (as well as the butter and the chicken that the stock was made from), and they are in season right now… so technically this is a seasonal dish!

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    The nice thing is, pureeing half of the soup thickens it naturally, so instead of adding cream you can add more cheese. 🙂

  4. Kat says:

    I was so excited about this soup…
    I went to the greenmarket, made a roasted vegetable stock, was dreaming all day of a nice thick chowder and a salad with sunflower sprouts and raisins. Usually I would have seen the red flag…a TABLESPOON of cayenne, but my pregnant brain doesn’t work so well these days. So hot I couldn’t eat it. Now it’s 11:30 pm and I have no dinner. I know I should have caught it, just thought you should be aware of the mistake in the recipe 😦
    Love your blog!

  5. Jennifer Hess says:

    Oh, I’m sorry it was too hot for your taste, Kat! I do tend to go pretty aggressive with my seasonings, but you should always feel free to adjust the spices up or down.

  6. Kat says:

    Oh wow! I’m really surprised it wasn’t a mistake! I’m originally from Louisiana and I always like everything spicier than anyone I know. It was so hot it hurt my stomach. I always make my own adjustments to recipes, but like I said—the pregnant brain does amazingly stupid things. The other day I forgot to put a cup of walnuts in a carrot cake and a while before that I left a loaf of banana bread sitting on a chair next to the oven.
    I won’t be defeated, though. I’m going to give it another try on Wednesday.
    Again, your blog is wonderful. It’s refreshing to find other people who take pleasure in preparing such spectacular, fresh food on a daily basis, especially in this city full of people who rarely use their closet sized kitchens.

  7. Jennifer Hess says:

    I hear hormones can be a doozy when you’re expecting. 😉

    I hope the soup works better for you next time, with a lower dose of cayenne!

  8. melanie says:

    yummy! very filling and great for a winter night! i served it with some sliced avacado and popcorn on top!

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