In the last two weeks of August, we’re eating fresh corn, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes almost every night. Our fridge is stocked to the point of overflowing with all of these things from my family’s garden. Each night is a game of “How can I remix this?” with the same cast of characters. Sometimes it’s super fun and creative, and sometimes I just make a big saute with a splash of soy sauce and garlic, and call it a night.
Soup is a frequent destination for the bumper crops as well. Generally when I make soup or stew, we eat it all up within 3 days. I don’t really make-ahead and freeze a lot of stuff. The only cooked thing that’s stockpiled in my freezer is homemade vegetable stock. I just prefer fresh food and (gratefully) I have the time for cooking around that preference.
But corn chowder is different and 100% the exception. Summer corn from Ontario exists on this higher flavour plane. It’s so sweet and creamy. When the mini cornfield at my parents’ place is exploding, I fill the bottom shelf of my basement freezer with chowder. It’s a soothing saviour on a cold and dark November night. Can you tell that I’m excited for Fall?
Practically everything else in the chowder is local as well–the potatoes, hot peppers, onions, garlic, herbs–and honestly that fills me up with a corny (heh) sense of pride. This version of chowder that I dreamed up has a solid pour of local beer to deglaze the pot. I love the little bit of tang and balancing edge of bitterness that it brings to the finished product. I’m partnering with Muskoka Brewery to showcase their Harvest Ale, which is 100% sourced from Ontario producers. The malt and hops are grown right in the province and the yeast is developed here too. It’s a large batch brew that supports over 260 jobs. This Harvest Ale is a delight in my chowder, and obviously so refreshing and delicious straight up.
I’m a fan of the old fashioned wellness approach that’s based in moderation. I love spirulina smoothies and kale salads, but I also LOVE chips and beer. Like I can’t envision the rest of my life without them. Sometimes a beer is the perfect accompaniment to a kale salad too! Enjoyed responsibly, beer is one of the easier and more enjoyable aspects of my mental health regimen. The crack and hiss of a popped can is an immediate signal to my brain that it’s time to put the phone down, reconnect with my people, and just be present. Also, a few extra B vitamins and minerals couldn’t hurt either ;)
So I hope that you try this chowder with all that summer corn, and more importantly I hope that you get some relaxing times with an refreshing brew (alcoholic or non) soon! My favourite trick for corn chowder is simmering the scraped cobs with the vegetable stock for at least 20 minutes. Then you strain it off and proceed. It’s a simple step that makes a huge difference! One last thing: for my Ontario locals, keep an eye on my Instagram page for an amazing Muskoka Brewery giveaway! ;)
HARVEST CORN CHOWDER WITH BEER AND WHITE BEANS RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I blend half of this chowder to give it a creamy texture, but if you’d like yours to be SUPER creamy, throw a handful of soaked cashews into the blender as well.
-I used a freakishly hot banana pepper from my garden here. A jalapeńo would be amazing!
-If I know that I’m making corn chowder, I like to simmer some really good homemade vegetable stock with scraped corn cobs beforehand. If you only have time for boxed stock, just give it a boil with the scraped cobs for 20 minutes or so. It will still make a difference!
-If you avoid alcohol, just use more stock and add a touch more lime at the end.
-Corn and potatoes are starchy and need lots of salt and acidity to come alive. Season liberally!
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves minced
1 lb potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 ¾ cups cooked white beans, drained (from a 15oz can)
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 hot pepper/chili of choice (see headnote), minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ cup Muskoka Brewery 100% Ontario Harvest Ale (or any beer you like!)
5 cups vegetable stock (see headnote)
5 cups corn kernels (scraped from about 5-6 cobs of corn)
¼ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the paprika and thyme and stir. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the spices. Add the white beans, season everything with lots of salt and pepper, and stir.
Add the chili and garlic to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the beer. Let it froth up and then gently stir. Bring the beer and vegetables to a boil. Then, add the vegetable stock to the pot and give it another stir.
Cover the pot and bring the chowder to a boil. Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and let the soup cook, covered, until the potatoes are completely tender, about 15-17 minutes.
Once the potatoes are tender, add the corn and continue to simmer thr chowder until the kernels are cooked and slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Then carefully ladle half of the hot chowder into an upright, vented blender (like a Vitamix). Turn the blender on and slowly bring the speed up to high. Blend the chowder until creamy and smooth, about 40 seconds.
Return the blended portion of the chowder to the pot and stir to combine. Stir in the lime juice as well. Check for seasoning at this point and adjust if necessary. Serve the chowder hot with chopped cilantro on top and extra black pepper.
**This post was created in partnership with Muskoka Brewery. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this site!