Smoky Corn Chowder is as it should be… creamy, chunky and loaded with hearty flavors, unless you happen to be my grandfather. He prefers smooth bisques to “soups that eat like a meal”. So when I served him a bowl of this one, he didn’t quite know what to do.
He picked around the sausage, pushed away the potatoes and snubbed the fresh corn kernels, sucking up all the broth and leaving a bowl filled with all the good stuff. I questioned my mother about this and she simply shrugged her shoulders in “that’s just the way he is” resignation.
My Dad, on the other hand, was beyond excited to find those chunks of kielbasa and vegetables, relishing every bite. So, depending on personal style, you may rave over my Smoky Corn Chowder or not. I’m solidly in the pro camp.
The corn broth gives the soup a light sweet flavor that goes well with the smoky, meaty kielbasa. For this chowder, I only added a cup of cream. But you could add more – or less, depending on your will power. A sprinkle of smoked paprika or dash of hot sauce would be appropriate garnishes.
This chowder is a chunky blend of corn, potatoes, vegetables and kielbasa, inspired by Mark Bittman's version.
- 6 ears corn husk and silk removed
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound smoky kielbasa sausage or other smoked sausage, sliced into half moons
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium white potatoes diced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme tied together with kitchen string
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 cup cream
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika optional
- Use a sharp knife (or if you have one of those handy corn-stripping gadgets - use it) to slice kernels off the cob. Transfer kernels to a bowl and set aside.
Place corn cobs in a large pot and cover with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce heat to medium low. Cover pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove the corn cobs and discard.
While the corn is simmering, in a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and fragrant. Add celery, onion, potatoes and thyme bundle. Cook for about 5 minutes until onion and celery soften a bit.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and sausage and stir until the flour becomes pasty. Cook for about 1 minute, then add about 1 cup of the hot corn broth to the vegetable mixture and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to add the broth in 1 cup increments, stirring after each addition. Stir in the salt, pepper and reserved corn kernels.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the cream and paprika. Serve.
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