Healthy Corn Chowder with aged cheddar as a topping is a great way to use those leftovers of corn or do something different with it. This creamy and cheesy soup with saline herbs will close the summer on a high note!
Corn season is finally here, and what better way to celebrate the season than a healthy corn chowder with a topping of aged cheddar? The days are getting slowly colder and shorter, and we must comfort ourselves with hot soup. Where I’m from, Quebec, Canada, everyone knows that the “best” corns are from that small town called Neuville between Quebec City and Montreal. If they pass by, you “must” stop to get at least one Gigantesque bag.
Once home, we would eat corn until food coma follows, whether by boiling it or grilling it in its leaves (technique below), but here is another way to use that lovely sweet corn: a creamy yet healthy corn chowder. Whether the corn is already cooked or raw, the technique stays the same: cut off the grains from the corn with a sharp knife to make some smooth soup. A great way to indulge in the corn!
Corn in its Leaves (BBQ Recipe)
My family’s favourite way to make fresh corn is to soak them up in the water for an hour before cooking them on the BBQ with its leaves on for 10 minutes, turning them every 2 minutes. Better to take off some of those thicker leaves from the top of the corn. You’ll see, it makes super moist and slightly smoky corns. Delicious stuff!
Salicorne is a seasonal marine herb growing in saline water, which gives a super aromatic for any soup. I thought of home while doing this dish; these herbs brought me back. My grandma was from a region called Bas-du-Fleuve, where those Salicorne herbs would grow abundantly, and she would make her mix of saline herbs in conserves to make fantastic soups all year long with it.
Those conserves are essential to every Quebecois kitchen. They are usually without salicorne, called “Herbes salées,” but if you use the Salicorne, you get all the greatness my grandma called ” Herbes Salées du bas du Fleuve,” is the top-notch of those conserves. With this mix, you wouldn’t need any salt to season your soups, plus they give any dish an extra fresh sea flavour. Salicorne can be challenging to find, but they sell it in some specialty shops in dry form. Many types of saline herbs exist around the globe, so pick up the one more familiar to you, whether it’s called glasswort, pickleweed, samphire, etc. If you don’t have those herbs at home, use sea salt.
Sometimes people make a roux for thickening their soups, but here no need for extra flour or cornstarch; you have to blend up the cooked potato and corn in the end, and you’ll get a super smooth base. Plus, a nice bite from those reserved corn grains.
Turmeric for Color
Additionally, the turmeric powder will bring this nice bright yellow colour to the chowder, plus it’s a super healthy spice. As for the yellow bell pepper, I added mine at the end for a nice fresh crunch, but if you prefer, you can add it at the beginning of the cooking. Like any other chowder… it’s better to wait a few hours before serving, to make all those flavours merge. Just be careful; once the cream and cheese are in, you should not overheat the soup; warm it up gently until fuming but not boiling. Otherwise, it will curdle.
Other Yummy Soups
So let’s make this chowder!
Healthy Corn Chowder
- 4 corns
- 1 big potato
- 1 l vegetable broth
- 200 ml cream
- 2 small onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper (*optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp turmeric powder (*optional)
- aged cheddar (to taste)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp salicorn (*optional)
- Start by softening the onions in olive oil or butter for 5 minutes.
- Cut the corn grains with a knife and dice all the vegetables.
- Add the diced potato, garlic, corn grains, *Salicorne marine herbs and laurel leaf to the softened onions.
- Add the broth and bring to a simmer.
- Cook slowly, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.
- Once cooked, take out the bay leaf.
- Blend with the immersion blender the soup until half smooth (you still want some pieces here and there).
- Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.