Chipotle Corn Chowder

by Jennifer Iannolo

Post image for Chipotle Corn Chowder

This hearty soup offers the perfect segue from summer to autumn, making use of those last fresh ears of corn from the farmer’s market. The chipotle and chorizo sausage add a subtle, smoky heat and spice combination that is a perfect foil for the soup’s creamy richness. You can also substitute frozen corn if winter leaves you yearning for a belly-warming bowl of goodness.

Serves 4


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small chorizo sausages (dried)
3 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (can substitute frozen)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (or more) chipotle pepper, canned, packed in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish


Melt the butter in a sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the chorizo and corn, turning to coat. Cook for about 15 minutes until the mixture starts to brown slightly. Add the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and the mixture begins to stick.

Remove from heat, add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the caramelized pieces. Using an immersion blender, blend some or all of the mixture, depending upon your preference, for a chunky or smooth puree.

Add the cream and place the pot on medium-low heat. Bring almost to a boil (when bubbles start to form around the edges of the pot). Season with a pinch of salt and allow the soup to bubble gently until it is reduced by about 1/4.

Finely chop the chipotle pepper into a mash and add a tablespoon at a time to taste. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

Serve with chopped cilantro as a garnish to add a citrusy sparkle of flavor.

Recipe & photo: Jennifer Iannolo

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

DCCox23 August 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Possibly a silly question:

Dried Chorizo?
According to the recipe, I buy and brown the chorizo with the corn…

Should I use a Dry-cured Chorizo (looks like a pepperoni) and brown that with the corn?
Should I dice it first?

Would buying the uncooked (semi-dry) chorizo and browning that with the corn get too oily?

Jennifer Iannolo August 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I’ve only used the dried in this, but if using the fresh, I’d definitely brown it separately and drain it on paper towels first, or yes, there would be an oil slick. It’s much what I’d do with Italian sausage before putting it in the sauce. Then you get the mmmmm caramelization without all the oil.

Chef Mark Tafoya August 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm

To piggyback on that answer: Dried chorizo is best in this recipe, because it has tons of flavor, bite and color. You’re not really “browining” it so much as rendering out the fat, flavor and color from the chorizo, and developing depth of flavor in the final dish.

Christopher S. Penn August 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Very minor bone to pick: when you’re cooking meat, it’s technically the Maillard reaction and not caramelization.

As for substitution, if you need heavy cream for density and texture, you should be able to use any starch like corn starch or arrowroot starch. If you need the cream for the cream-like properties, then as you mentioned on FB, probably full fat coconut milk or a heavy soy milk.

Jennifer Iannolo August 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Penn, if you ever decide to pursue a food career, you are first on my “must grab” list. Thank you for that tidbit re meat.

Yes, I think the coconut milk would add a really nice flavor profile here.

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