I’ve written about the awesomeness of this corn chowder in the past, because it showcases the sweetness of summer corn in a way that’s rich without being heavy and about as summer-appropriate as a chowder can possibly be. Now that I’m on a “slow cookers for summer” kick, I thought this recipe would be perfect to adapt.
It’s a surprisingly easy chowder to put together. A bit of chopping, some corn cob scraping, a turn in the slow cooker to extract some liquid from all the summer produce, and milk to finish. I have to say I recommend using yellow tomatoes if you can find them because red tomatoes give the chowder a weird pinkish hue that really bugs me, but if it doesn’t bug you, feel free to go with whatever you can find.
Do not skip the bacon and green onion topping. This chowder is definitely on the sweet side and the bacon and green onion lend sharpness and depth that are really critical to keeping things balanced.
Slow-Cooker Summer Corn Chowder
adapted from Food 52
6-10 strips bacon
5-6 ears fresh corn
1 medium onion
1 poblano pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
1 celery rib
3 medium yellow tomatoes
2 medium waxy potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup half and half
2 cups milk
more salt and black pepper, to taste
optional: cayenne or tabasco
parsley and sliced green onion, for garnish
1. Start by cooking your bacon. The point of crock pot corn chowder is to keep the kitchen cool, so I recommend using your microwave unless you already have some cooked bacon on hand. I usually start a plate of raw bacon in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, stop and pour any liquid from the plate into the slow cooker, then cook for 30 seconds and check, another 30 and check, two or three times until the bacon is crispy. Pour any remaining fat into the slow cooker. Drain the bacon on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
2. Cut the corn from the cobs into a bowl (it helps to use a small bowl set upside down inside of a large bowl to rest the cobs on while you slice) and use the back of your knife to “milk” the cobs of all the corny goodness. Pick through the corn for any stray silks and add them to the slow cooker.
3. Dice your onion, poblano, jalapeño, celery, tomatoes, and potatoes and pile them in the slow cooker. Add your salt, and bay leaf and black pepper, cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
4. When the potatoes are cooked and there is a good amount of liquid in the bottom of the pot, add the milk and half and half. Taste for seasoning. This soup is pretty darn sweet, so a dash of cayenne or tabasco is welcome.
5. Garnish with green onion (super important for flavor balance) and parsley (slightly less important but still tasty) and top with crumbled bacon.