Thick and creamy Potato and Corn Chowder is such a filling and comforting soup. This is loaded with sweet fresh corn, chunks of potato and carrots that were simmered slowly until soft. It is bursting with flavor from variety of herbs and spices and has a creamy consistency even without a cream. A truly heart filling soup that will keep you warm.
My love (or obsession) with chowder soup started when I visited San Francisco. The Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is quite famous for its Clam Chowder served in a bread bowl. A visit to this place is not the same without at least trying a bowl of chowder. Ever since then, whenever it starts to get cold and soup season starts (which is basically Fall and Winter and early Spring), its time for me to make a chowder soup. This is so far the third chowder variation than I have in my website. I first made the Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder with diced Ham, and absolutely fell in love with it. I stopped counting how many times I made it. Then after that, I made Shrimp Chowder which is my seafood version, although the base of the soup is the same, the shrimp gave a different flavor to the soup. And now, this Chunky Potato and Corn Chowder which was both inspired by the other chowder recipe, mostly the Sweet Potato Chowder. This one is the vegetarian version but sometimes a chicken version whenever I feel like adding some shredded chicken in it. This third version is the simplified version on the other two chowders. I made it easier, it is basically cooking everything in one pot, adding vegetables and spices one after the other.
Tips in Freezing Soup
- Let it Cool: It could be tempting to immediately pack and transfer soup in the freezer especially when you are in a hurry, but you have to STOP there. Putting a hot item in the freezer could lower the temperature of the freezer, potentially causing items already in it to defrost a little. Even a slight change of temperature change could be a food safety risk. So, be patient and let it cool
- Overfilling or Under-filling: Do not over fill the container and liquids expand when they freeze. if you fill the container to the top, you risk the soup expanding and possibly breaking through the container especially if you are using a rather flimsy containers. Now, on the other hand, you also don’t want to underfill the container, as the more air inside, the faster freezer burn can occur. I would say 1-inch allowance from the top of the soup to the cover of the container.
- Use the Proper Containers: Use a freezer safe containers or bags to keep the soup from freezer burn. Small containers for single serving portion are great, but if you are tight on space, you can freeze the soyup in a ziplock bag and lay them flat on top of each other
- Freezing a Pasta Soup: You’ve probably done this and wondered how come after re-heating the pasta becomes mushy. Unfortunately, pasta in a soup do not hold well from freezing to re-heating. What you can do it freeze the broth and hold back on the pasta. Add the pasta separately when you are heating it up. Sometimes what I do it cook the pasta and freeze it separately so it is not soaked in the liquid.
- Freezing Cream Based Soup: Unfortunately, cream based soup like chowders and bisques do not hold well in freezing. The soup tend to end up with a grainy texture, and the milk separate when defrosted and rewarmed almost like curdling. Something to take in consideration if you are thinking of freezing this soup.
- Do not Overcook: If you are planning to freeze the soup for quick dinner or lunch meals, do not overcook the vegetables. Since you are re-heating the soup again, this will help prevent having a mushy vegetables in your soup. Soup that have potato, carrots and other kinds of root vegetables are best cooked halfway only. As for adding leafy vegetables, hold back on them and add them when you re-heat the soup. vegetables like cabbage, bokchoy, kale, spinach are best added during re-heating. These vegetables cook fast, so you will have a better tasting only like same day cooked soup to keep you warm.
- Portion it Out: Rather than freezing an entire huge bag of soup, it is best to portion it out into small serving portion. This way, it re-heats faster and you do not have to re-heat the entire back and return the rest in the freezer again
- Hold on the Garnishing: Garnishing adds a nice touch to food, so hold on it and add it when you are serving the soup.
- Label It: Whether you are using a container or a ziplock bag, make it a habit to add a label. This makes it easy for other family members to know what it is, plus it reminds you how long it has been in the freezer. Although frozen soup last long, you do not want to keep them there for a year!
How to Make Chunky Potato & Corn Chowder
I always start by making a roux. A roux is just a mixture of melted butter, flour and milk or broth. It is cooked on stove-top until it becomes like a thick creamy paste. This is what will make the soup thick and creamy without using cream in the soup. I like to add the onion, garlic and celery with the butter, have it cooked for few minutes before adding the flour. It will only take about 1 – 2 minutes to cook the flour, besides it will continue cooking while the soup simmer. Once this is done, add all the herbs and spices, broth and potato. I like to keep the corn to the end of the cooking, last 10 minutes to retain the crunch. The first 30 minutes of cooking is to soften the potato, cook it in medium heat so that the sauce thickens gradually. Stir the mixture from time to time to avoid the vegetables from sticking at the bottom. As the sauce thickens from the roux and the starch from the potato, the consistency will get thicker. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the corn, milk and parmesan cheese. Make sure to taste it before turning off the heat. It ain’t over till its over. Adjust the seasoning as desired. I have to stress, add the salt gradually so that you can easily control it. The amount of salt could depend on the broth that you are using. Check the sodium in your broth if you are using store-bought broth. My rule is to always add the salt gradually, and I suggest you do the same too. We all have different preference on how salty we like our food.
- 2 tablespoon unsalted Butter
- 2 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- 1 small White Onion – chopped
- 1 tablespoon Celery – chopped
- 1 clove Garlic – minced
- 2 3/4 cup Broth (Vegetable or Chicken Broth)
- 1/4 cup diced Carrots
- 1 medium size Potato – diced
- 1 teaspoon Salt (add gradually, start with 1/2 tsp and adjust as needed)
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Basil
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 3/4 cup Corn ( Fresh un-cook, fresh raw or canned)
- 1/2 cup full fat Milk
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
- Milk – can be substituted with cream for a thicker creamier soup
- Basil and Italian Seasoning – can be substituted with thyme or oregano
- In a heated pan, add butter and melt. Turn the heat to low, then add onion, garlic and celery. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add flour and stir until the flour is completely mixed with the onion. Cook for about 1 minute. Add broth while continuously stirring until the flour dissolved.
- Add carrots, potato, salt, sugar, black pepper, cayenne pepper, basil and Italian seasoning. Cook for 30 minutes or until the carrots and potato are tender. Stir the mixture from time to time to avoid lumps and from the vegetable sticking at the bottom. Add milk, corn and cheese. Cook for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Serve. Transfer in a bowl, top with more corn and croutons (if you have any). This is great to have on its own, or to serve with salad or some bread on the side.
- Add salt gradually so that you can easily adjust it to your preference
- If you are using store-bought broth, get the low sodium and adjust the salt gradually during the cooking. If you are using high-sodium broth, then even more reason to gradually add the salt
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