I created this chowder as a satisfying warm soup that is also light enough for a summer night. As fall approaches I am finding more and more reasons to appreciate fresh summer produce, and this dish highlights sweet summer corn, bright peppers, and yellow tomatoes that I will miss in the winter!
Serves 2 as a main course.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 white or yellow onion, large dice
- 2 tsp jalepeno, seeds removed and diced (or more if you like it really spicy!)
- 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled, cored, and diced (about 1- 1 1/2 cups worth)
- 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning plus more to taste
- 1 cup russet potato, scrubbed and diced (peeled is optional)
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup 2% milk*
- 2 cups sweet corn, fresh from a cob (substitute frozen, defrosted)
- ground black pepper to top
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (substitute parsley)
*A word on the milk choice- I wanted this chowder to be light and allow the flavors of the fresh vegetables to shine through! Many cream-based chowders use exactly that–cream–but this recipe is healthier and less overbearing. That being said, you do need some fat in the milk to make it substantial and tasty! If you only have skim or 1% in the fridge, add in an additional 2 tbsp of cream or half-and-half to create a balanced texture.
Heat the butter in a large pot until just melted, then add the onions and cook them until they are translucent, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and garlic and give them a quick stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add half of the diced tomatoes and stir frequently until they have broken their water, another 5-10 minutes. (p.s. while you are stirring and waiting, chop the ingredients that follow!)
After the tomatoes have mostly broken down, you have created the flavorful base of your soup! Add in an initial 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning and 1/2 tsp salt, you may want to add more later. Add in the bay leaf, fresh oregano, potatoes, stock, and remaining tomatoes and stir to mix everything together evenly.
Bring the stock to a simmer, then add the milk and return the pot to a simmer. You don’t want to truly boil the milk as it will curdle. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add in the corn and continue to simmer. For fresh corn kernels, simmer for five minutes. Frozen corn may take a little less time, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove the soup from heat, remove the bay leaf, and serve in bowls, topped with the black pepper and cilantro. Serve with a warm crusty bread and a summer beer!