An easy, New England-style corn chowder that’s vegetarian and uses evaporated milk instead of cream.
If you’ve looked at this blog at all in the last few weeks, then you’d have to know that today – Tuesday the 9th of February – is Pancake Day (aka Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday). So naturally, I’m writing about chowder today.
Before you think I’ve completely lost the plot, let me explain the need for this soup (sorry, chowder).
Because there is a tiny bit of method to my madness today.
The 9th of February isn’t just Shrove Tuesday, it’s also the day of the New Hampshire primary. It’s technically the first primary in the US presidential election, since Iowa voted using the somewhat quaint (and somewhat bizarre) caucus system.
Since this is a blog about food and not politics, I won’t be ranting about Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders today. Instead, I’m marking the New Hampshire primary with a steaming bowl of chowder. Actually, make that chowdah.
New Hampshire – along with the other five states that make up New England – is known for its creamy chowders. Clam chowder is undoubtedly the most famous of the New England chowders, but I maintain that corn chowder is the king (or queen) of the chowder family.
(Yeah, I know a lot of people will disagree with me on that one. Oh well, more corn chowder for me).
Not surprisingly, the creamy texture of a New England chowder is typically a result of a heavy dose of cream. To make the dish significantly lighter – but still creamy – I replaced the usual cup(s) of cream with a smaller amount of evaporated milk. Full fat evaporated milk is best here, otherwise you may lose that all-important creamy texture.
To ensure we can all enjoy bowls of chowder all year round, I used a mixture of frozen corn kernels and creamed corn*, instead of fresh corn. That also means you don’t have to deal with cutting the fresh kernels off the cobs. Maybe I’m just clumsy, but whenever I try to de-corn a cob, the kernels end up all over the bench, on the floor, in my hair – everywhere except for on the cutting board.
*Side note: Despite the name, creamed corn doesn’t contain cream.
For a more ‘New England’ experience, you should really serve this chowder with crackers. But if you ask me, crusty bread beats crackers any day of the week. Sorry, crackers.
By the way, this is my second ‘primary-themed’ recipe for the year (in case you missed it, I made Iowa-themed sandwiches for the February 1 caucus). Will I continue eating my way through the presidential primaries? Well, you just have to wait and see.
P.S. Happy Pancake Day! I hope your day is filled with pancakes (or flapjacks, crepes or hotcakes…)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- ¼ cup (30g) chopped celery
- 1 heaping cup (190g) peeled and diced potatoes
- 3 cups (405g) frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups (480mL) cups vegetable broth
- 15 oz (425g) can of creamed corn
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ cup (120mL) evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Salt, to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Crusty bread or crackers
- In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the shallot is tender and translucent. Add the chopped celery and sauté for another minute.
- Stir in the diced potatoes and frozen corn, and cook for a minute. Add the vegetable broth, creamed corn and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are just cooked.
- Stir in the evaporated milk and chopped parsley. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chowder has reached your desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.
- Ladle the chowder into bowls and sprinkle over some additional chopped parsley. Serve with some crusty bread or crackers.