Summer Corn Chowder

With so much good fresh sweet corn available, August is the perfect time to make this chowder. For more depth of flavor, try grilling the corn roasting and peppers (the corn should be nicely charred from the grill and (the peppers’ skin should blacken and appear bubbly or “blistered”. You can also roast the tomatoes before chopping- just drizzle with olive oil put and broil until the tomatoes’ skins brown a bit and the skins start to peel back slightly from the fruit beneath. I also like to double the peppers and skip seeding the jalapeños for some extra kick, but if you prefer a mellower bowl of chowder, go ahead and remove the seeds and membranes. Before serving, you can also add a dollop of sour cream, sliced green onions, and crunchy tortilla strips for extra flavor and color.


  • 6 medium ears of corn
  • 6 strips of bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 medium poblano finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 pound) peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 cups light cream, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish


Working over a bowl, cut the corn kernels from the cobs at about half their depth. Then, using the back of the knife, scrape the cobs over the bowl to release all the “milk” and set aside.

In a large saucepan, fry the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble and reserve. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the poblano pepper, jalapeño and celery, and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, salt, allspice, sugar, bay leaf and the reserved corn kernels and their “milk” and stir well. Cook over moderate heat until mixture begins to sizzle. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

Stir in the cream and milk, and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and season with black pepper to taste. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with the crumbled bacon and cilantro.