Quick and Cheesy Corn Chowder

Here’s another easy, cheap, weeknight meal that’s great for both summer and winter.  It’s fairly light, and makes a nice main course for summer, but it’s also nice and warm and would be great served as a first course before a meaty main in winter.

I used a bag of frozen corn that had been hanging out in the freezer for a while, but you could of course use fresh corn if you aren’t as concerned about the “quick” part, and the result would be even better.

Finally, I actually garnished this with smoked Gouda from Wheatsville.  This cheese complemented the other flavors perfectly, and gave the first few bites of chowder a nice little bit of unexpected bite.  I should also reveal that the teaspoon of sour cream you see above was for display purposes only; I actually used about three times as much.  I love sour cream.  I can eat it straight out of the container.

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
16 oz. chicken stock
16 oz. frozen corn
1/2 head fresh cauliflower (or half a bag frozen)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup powdered Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cream
sour cream, to garnish

1. In a large stock pot, melt butter into olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir. Sauté for about five or so minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add salt, cumin, and chili powder, stir, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.

2. Add chicken stock, increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Add corn and cauliflower. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, adjust heat to make sure the soup doesn’t return to a boil, but so that the pot is warm enough that it continues to slowly cook.

3. Pour soup into a blender or large food processor and purée. I like to leave about one cup of chunky corn kernels aside, to add texture to the final dish. Use more as less, as you prefer. You may need to purée the corn mixture in two separate batches. After mixing, return of it to the pot and stir together with chunky bits.

4. Over low heat, add cheeses and stir constantly until they’re completely mixed in (about two minutes). Then add cream and stir until it, too, disappears into the soup.

5. Serve immediately garnished with sour cream, more grated cheese, a sprinkling of chili powder, a sprig of cilantro, or anything else that sounds good! I also like to serve it with homemade tortilla chips!  Mmm.

Serves 4.

Refrigerates nicely, too.

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3 thoughts on “Quick and Cheesy Corn Chowder

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