Smoky Corn Chowder is by far the most delicious chowder I’ve ever eaten. I love a good chowder, but even the great ones seemed a bit bland for my taste. Sprinkling on more salt and pepper didn’t seem to make the difference I was hoping for. With the simple addition of smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper, an ordinary recipe steps up to become a crave-worthy dish. This corn chowder is incredibly rich, creamy and exploding with flavor!
The difference between chowder and soup
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a chowder and soup? Or, have you never been that bored? 😉 While they both generally have the same type of ingredients; broth or stock, a meat, and vegetables, chowder is thickened with a cream base and/or a flour of some sort. This makes chowder a hearty selection in meal planning. Warm delicious Smoky Corn Chowder, a few crackers, and a vibrant salad would make a wonderful meal on a cold winter’s night.
Favorite Slow Cooker Soups
Fresh versus frozen corn
When making a true corn chowder, fresh is always best, however; I was looking to make a chowder that is simple enough for a busy day. Why is fresh best? Because as you cut the corn off of the cob, tiny bits and pieces of corn and cob get mixed in. These bits actually work as a thickener (like corn starch) in your recipe, meaning you can use less flour. Another reason fresh corn is “sometimes” worth the effort is that you’ll get the full flavor of the corn you have chosen. Imagine New Jersey sweet corn in this dish!! Yum!
To use fresh corn in this recipe: Add the flour and cracker crumbs at your discretion so the chowder doesn’t get too thick.
How to make Smoky Corn Chowder
Smoky Corn Chowder is simple to make and requires only one pot!! Winner winner easy dinner! There are quite a few ingredients, but having everything prepared before hand will make the meal preparation go by with ease.
- Cutting Board – used for chopping vegetables and bacon
- Mixing Bowls – used for separating ingredients
- Dutch Oven – used for sautéing vegetables and cooking the chowder
- Meat – bacon
- Vegetables – frozen or fresh corn, potatoes, yellow onion, green and red bell pepper, garlic cloves
- Herbs and spices – bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder
- Thickener – all-purpose flour, Ritz crackers
- Liquid – chicken broth, half and half
The most effort you’ll need to put into this dish is chopping the vegetables and bacon. The size is a matter of preference. I like mine to be chopped into smaller pieces so there will be more variety in my spoon.
What type of potato should you use? When choosing a potato, choose one that does not break up easily when cooked. I used Yukon Gold for this recipe.
What type of bacon should you choose? I used a thick cut bacon and cut it into half inch pieces. This produces a ham-like texture when cooked into the chowder. Regular bacon will produce a thinner, crispier meat.
- Chop the vegetables and bacon and set aside. When using garlic, remember to remove the “peeling” from the clove prior to mincing. Mince the garlic into tiny pieces.
- In a large Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot, sauté the bacon for about 3 minutes, or until fat has been released into the pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Next add the bell peppers and cook until vegetables are tender.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour with the spices and herbs. Add the flour mixture into the sautéd vegetables and bacon, mixing the combine. Note: Blending the flour into the cooked veggies will prevent it from clumping.
- Add the broth, then add potatoes. Give the pot a good stir to combine all ingredients. Bring pot to a boil, cover with lid, and then set heat to simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. When potatoes are tender, add in the heavy and corn, stirring to combine. Check for seasoning.
- In a small bowl, finely crush crackers into crumbs. Using a whisk, mix cracker crumbs into soup until well blended.
- Cook chowder on low to medium heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Do not boil. Chowder will continue to thicken when removed from heat. If needed, you can add more broth to leftovers for thinning.
Smoky Corn Chowder
- 2 lb bag frozen corn or fresh
- 6 strips bacon raw and chopped
- 3 cups potatoes diced
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 green and red bell pepper chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme fresh or dried
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 3/4 cup Ritz crackers crumbled
- Chop the bacon and the vegetables, mincing garlic into tiny pieces.
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot, sauté the bacon for about 3 minutes, or until fat has been released into the pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the bell peppers and cook until vegetables are tender.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour with the spices and herbs. Add the flour mixture into the sautéd vegetables and bacon, mixing the combine.
- Add the chicken broth and potatoes, stirring to combine all ingredients. Bring pot to a boil, cover with lid and set heat to simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and add the heavy cream and corn, stirring to combine. Check for seasonings.
- In a small bowl, finely crush crackers into crumbs. Using a whisk, mix cracker crumbs into soup until well blended. Cook chowder on low to medium heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Do not boil.