Corn chowder is a hearty and comforting dish, especially popular in American cuisine with a savory history.
The exact origin of corn chowder is a bit challenging to trace, as the concept of chowders, in general, has roots in various maritime cultures. Chowder itself is a type of soup or stew that typically includes seafood, vegetables, and potatoes. Over time, regional variations and adaptations have led to the creation of different chowder recipes, including corn, potato, and clam chowder.
Corn, a staple in Native American diets for centuries, was introduced to European settlers in the Americas. The use of corn in culinary practices evolved over time, and chowder with corn likely emerged as a regional American dish in the 19th or early 20th century.
One of the earliest references to corn chowder appears in “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book,” written by Fannie Farmer and published in 1896. Farmer’s recipe for corn chowder included corn, diced potatoes, onions, pork, and milk. This publication helped popularize the dish and contributed to its inclusion in American culinary traditions.
This chowder gained further prominence during the 20th century, with variations emerging in different regions of the United States. Some recipes added bacon or salt pork for additional flavor, while others incorporated herbs and spices for a more diverse taste profile.
Today, corn chowder is enjoyed throughout the United States, especially during the summer and fall when fresh corn is in season. It has become a versatile dish, and home cooks often customize recipes to suit their preferences, adding ingredients like bell peppers, thyme, or even seafood.
The history of this hearty chowder reflects the adaptability of traditional recipes over time, as people have incorporated new ingredients and techniques into their cooking practices.
- 4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (you can also use canned corn)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup milk or cream (for a creamier chowder)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- Gradually add the vegetable broth, stirring continuously to combine the roux with the liquid.
- Add the diced potatoes and corn to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook until the potatoes are tender, usually about 15-20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the chowder to simmer for an additional 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with the chopped cilantro.