Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mexican Corn Chowder

One of my favorite things in the world is a dish known as elote con mayonesa. It's Mexican street food at its best: boiled corn brushed with mayo, then sprinkled with cotija cheese, chili salt, and a squeeze of lime. I developed this chowder recipe with the same flavor combination. We really, really enjoyed it. This is something I will make again and again.
Mexican Corn Chowder
(serves four)
8 medium ears of corn (about 4 cups of kernels)
1 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 medium)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 chipotle pepper (about a tablespoon, minced)
3 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup cotija cheese
1 lime (sliced into wedges)
First peel the corn and remove all the silks by running a wet paper towel over the kernels. Remove the kernels by standing the ear in its end and carefully running a sharp knife down the length of the ear of corn on all sides. Do this operation over a large bowl. In a large soup pot over medium high heat, sweat the onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the onion starts to brown, add the broth, chipotle pepper, garlic and 3/4 of the corn kernels. Bring the soup up to a boil by raising the heat to medium-high. Allow mixture to cook for about ten minutes. Blend the mixture smooth with an immersion blender. Return soup to the pot and add the remaining corn for texture. Mix the ancho chili powder and the sea salt together in a small bowl to make chili salt. Ladle chowder into a bowl and top with a 1/4 teaspoon of chili salt, a tablespoon of cotija cheese, a few cilantro leaves, and a squeeze of lime.

Does this need more richness in the form of some cream?


  1. I would love to test this recipe. Not sure I can get ears of corn this time a year, but I will see what I can do.

  2. I thought the same thing, but Whole Foods had them for .99 an ear!

  3. The Mexican corn chowder is soooooo good! I toned down the spice for the kiddo. You were spot on that it tastes just like street corn

  4. I wasn't sure where to write my notes so they are going to be put here for now. I was really excited to do this. I have been wanting to start doing more things like this so, thank you. Not sure what type of notes you were looking for, so here it goes.

    First off, I would like you to know that I couldn't find any ears of corn. I searched for a week. Eventually, I picked up some nice fresh-frozen corn. It was the best I could get. So, I couldn't follow the first steps but in reading them, they made sense.

    1. You say sweat the onions over medium high heat, then turn the soup up to medium high heat. I assume that it should have been sweat over medium-low heat. That is what I did.

    2. "Cook for ten minutes" is that covered or uncovered? It would have come up to boil faster with the lid on, but I thought that uncovered was a better option so thicken the soup up a little.

    3. After using the immersion blender, you say to return to pot. I hadn't taken it off the stove and used the blender right in the pot. The directions were a little unclear here. Also, I turned the soup down to a low or medium at this point. I wasn't sure where you intended the heat to be.

    Overall, it was excellent.

    I didn't use all of the chili salt, but it is something that I will use for other dishes.

    Also, regarding your tester note, I agree. My wife and I tried the soup without the cream first. We had some good quality sour cream on hand and added a small spoonful with the rest of the toppings. We both preferred it that way. The little extra cream just filled out the flavours a bit and added just a touch of richness. I liked the sour cream, but another type of cream would have been fine but it doesn't need very much. I would suggest keeping it to a minimum.

    Thanks for the opportunity and I will be making an recipe to test this week.

    If you have an questions or comments, I would be happy to answer them. If you are looking for a different kind of notes, I can do that as well.