Mamaw’s Corn Chowder

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This easy to make chowder is rich, sweet, hearty bowl full of family love!

Lenny’s Grandmother, his “Mamaw”, was an amazing cook. They lived in Lebanon, PA, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, and her food was full of those wonderful Penn Dutch cooking flavors.

We particularly loved Mamaw’s soups. She always made a big pot of soup when we came to visit. Most of the time it was Chicken Corn Rivel Soup. It was AMAZING. Chicken, shoepeg corn, carrots, celery, onions and these yummy little rivers. Honestly, I never knew what a rivel was before I met Lenny’s Mamaw. It’s like a pea sized dumpling. I still don’t have the hang of making them. I am always disappointed when I make that one.

The other soup that she made that was the BEST was her Corn Chowder. I love corn chowder and this was so good. Recently I found some good end of the season sweet corn at a local farm stand and I thought – Corn Chowder!

So, looking at the recipe you can see that Mamaw’s chowder called for a pound of bacon. Let me say that again…a POUND OF BACON. Maybe that’s why it was so good. But given that Taylor is a vegetarian and hasn’t eaten meat in 6 years, I thought maybe now would be a good time to tweak this recipe to see if it could be just as good without the bacon.

The other thing I love about this soup…and all of Mamaw’s soups…was the addition of hardboiled egg. I think this is probably a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. I had never thought of adding hard boiled egg to chowder before. But boy, does it add something special!!

For my updating of this recipe, I used both the kernels and the cobs from the fresh sweet corn. After sautéing some onion, celery and carrots until softened, I simmered the corn cobs with the milk, a bay leaf and some salt for about 20 minutes. This gave the broth a nice rich sweetness.

I then added the potatoes, corn and some pepper, and cooked for another 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes were fork tender. I removed the cobs and the bay leaf, added some chopped hard boiled egg (thanks Pennsylvania Dutch traditions!) and thickened the soup with some corn starch mixed in a bit of milk.

The result was a rich, sweet, soul satisfying soup that didn’t feel like it was missing anything! I served it with some crusty bread and a few fresh veggies for a delicious meal.

Tips

  • If you are using canned or frozen corn, no worries. Just skip the first simmer.
  • Speaking of the simmers, don’t have the heat too high. You want a gentle simmer. You don’t want to scald the milk.
  • If you like bacon, and you want to try the bacon version, here’s how.
    • Chop bacon into small pieces. Brown in pot. When bacon is brown, pour off 1/2 of the drippings and sauté the onion, celery and carrots in the bacon fat instead of butter. Continue recipe as written below.

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it came out. I’d love to hear from you. Follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more stories and recipes from my family table to yours.


Mamaw’s Corn Chowder

Prep Time:  30 min.    Cook Time:  1 hour       Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 4-5 ears fresh corn on the cob (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, chopped 
  • 4 ½ cups milk, divided
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2-3 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Cut kernels from corn cobs, reserving both kernels and cobs. 
  2. Melt butter in a large pot. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups of milk, bay leaf, corn cobs and salt to pot. Heat to just boiling, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes, corn kernels and pepper. Cover and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. 
  5. Remove corn cobs and bay leaf.
  6. Add chopped eggs. Increase heat to medium and heat until soup just begins to boil.  
  7. Stir corn starch into remaining ½ cup milk. Add corn starch mixture to hot soup and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until soup is slightly thickened. 
  8. Top with parsley and serve. 

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