Corn-Off! [Chile Cheese Corn Chowder]

The weather was getting cold and it was getting late in the season, on October 7th we managed to still have our latest cook-off with fresh corn on the cob still available at the farmers market, and it was so good.  I had been craving corn chowder for quite awhile now, so I finally set the date for the corn-off and started recipe hunting on my favorite blogs and my Everyday Food cookbooks and my binder of random recipes and a few other places.  I didn’t want to use potatoes in the chowder, I wanted it to be a bit spicy, and have cheese, so I ended up combining  recipes, but mainly The Pioneer Woman’s, Corn & Cheese Chowder and Corn Chowder with Chilies.

The Ingredients

It didn’t win, I mean, how could it really compete with Sweet Corn Budino’s*, our Best of Show winner, by Christine, and the Best Savory, Monica’s Maizitos, which is basically mozzarella covered corn with bacon? You don’t.  But it was still really yummy and just what I was craving.  I served this with little bread sticks from Baked in Brooklyn.  You can get an entire bag of fresh breads for only $1, it’s pretty awesome.  Following it up by a smorgasbourgh of desserts like corn cookies, K’s corn ice cream, which took home the Best Sweet trophy, and some candy corn and you really can’t go wrong.  Even though rain kept us inside, everyone still had a good time, ate until their stomachs hurt, and still took extra home to snack on later, a sign of true success.

The Spread

Christine’s Winning Budino

As you can see, Monica’s winning dish on the right is pretty much gone.

Everyone in my tiny kitchen filling up on corny dishes

This recipe is really quick to make if you have everything all diced and ready to go into the pot, otherwise, it’s going to take you more like and hour and a half to make instead of 30 minutes.  Also, I did some dumb math and had to use some whole milk instead of all heavy cream, it turned out fine, but I would guess it might thicken a bit faster with all heavy cream, so I didn’t alter the recipe to include the milk.  I hope you give it a try and enjoy it on a cold day this fall or winter.  The leftover are just as good a few days later.  The following week was really cold and it was so nice to get home and warm up a bowl for dinner.  The corn kept it’s fresh corn crunch.  I’m sure it’s just  as tasty with frozen corn substituted for fresh corn on the cob.  I will say though, the corn that I have been getting at the market this year, has been some of the best I have had in years.  Even though that fresh corn is the best, you should really try this however you can.

Chili Cheese Corn Chowder

Chile Cheese Corn Chowder

makes 8 servings

  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces max
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 small whole yellow onions, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 5 ears corn, shucked (about 4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 whole chipotle peppers In adobo sauce, finely diced
  • 32 ounces, fluid chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican 4 cheese blend
  • 3 tablespoons corn meal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Slice the corn kernels off the cob. Set aside.
  2. Add bacon pieces to a pot (or if you are so lucky to have one, a dutch oven) over medium heat. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Throw in diced onion and stir, cooking the onion for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add butter and melt.
  5. Add the red and green peppers and corn. Stir and cook for one minute. Add the chilies and stir.
  6. Pour in chicken broth and cream. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
  7. Combine cornmeal with water.  Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water.
  8. Add cheese, and cook for another ten minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and mixed in.
  9. Served wit h tasty bread and topped with cilantro.


*A note from Christine regarding her Budino prep:  “I doubled the recipe, used regular salt instead of kosher and bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon. It didn’t say how to use the demerara sugar, so I just sprinkled it on top of the shortbread dough after rolling the dough out. Otherwise, I kept everything the same.”