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Tarragon Corn Chowder

Tarragon Corn Chowder

A light corn chowder with fresh corn, yukon gold potatoes, chopped fennel and onion, and fresh tarragon. No cream!

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

This is a soup made for summer! Fresh and bright. Compared to many corn chowders that can be a bit on the heavy side with cream and bacon, this chowder is rather light. It gets its body from Yukon gold potatoes and fresh corn.

Use corn cobs to make stock for corn chowder

The cool thing about this soup is the way the soup base is made—after you strip the kernels from the cobs, you just simmer the cobs for half an hour. You could use this method for any corn or vegetable soup for which you wanted a stronger corn flavor.

Tarragon and Corn

I love the way tarragon pairs with corn, to me it’s a perfect taste complement. But if tarragon isn’t your thing, you might try it with basil or thyme. In that case just swap out the fennel for more onions and potatoes.

Great use for leftover corn

Here’s another idea. Have leftover cooked corn from a weekend barbecue? Just use them for this recipe, or one like it. Cut off the kernels and simmer the cobs.

Tarragon Corn Chowder Recipe

This recipe uses whole corn-on-the-cob. The cobs are used to make a richly corn flavored broth.

You can make the chowder with with frozen corn, if you want. If you use frozen corn, you'll skip the cooking of the corn, as frozen corn is already cooked, and you'll need to add some sort of stock, either vegetable stock or chicken stock.

If you want to skip the wine, you can, though if you do you may want to squeeze a little lemon juice into the soup to help balance the sweetness from the corn.


  • 4 ears corn, in the husk (resulting in about 3 cups corn kernels)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 small waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon (French)


Prep the onions, fennel and potatoes while you are cooking the corn or making the corn broth.

1 Cook the corn (or not): If you are starting with fresh corn-on-the-cob (versus frozen), you can either cook the corn first, or not. We grill the corn first to get the extra flavor from the corn. You can make this soup with leftover whole cooked corn, or you can use raw corn corn on the cob.

To grill, keep the corn-on-the-cobs in their husks, and grill them directly over high heat until the outer husks are nicely charred, about 10-15 minutes. Then remove from the grill, let cool a little, then remove the husks and silk.

2 Cut the corn kernels away from the cobs. (See our tip for removing corn from the cob using a bundt pan to stabilize the cobs.) Set aside the corn kernels. Do not discard the cobs.

3 Simmer the cobs: Break the corn cobs in half, and put them in a pot with 6 cups water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. If you skip this step, use a quart of vegetable or chicken stock, plus 2 cups water in place of the corn broth in 5.

4 Cook onion and fennel, garlic: Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or separate large, thick-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and fennel and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

5 Add the white wine to the onions and boil it down by half.

6 Add potatoes, corn broth, bay leaves: While the wine is boiling, remove the corn cobs from the corn broth and discard. Add the potatoes to the pot with the onions and fennel, then pour in the corn broth, along with the bay leaves.

7 Simmer until potatoes are tender, add corn: Stir well and add salt to taste (you'll need to add more salt than you expect, as the corn broth is unsalted). Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

If you are using raw corn on the cob or frozen corn, you'll want to add the corn to the soup about halfway into the cooking. If you are using grilled or cooked corn, add at the end of cooking and heat for a few minutes.

8 Add tarragon: To finish, add the fresh chopped tarragon to the pot.

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Smoky Ham and Corn Chowder

I make soup all year, though not as often in summer (Cold cantaloupe soup, vichyssoise, room temperature vegetable stew with chickpeas).

But during Ohio’s coldest months, I make a pot of soup about once a week. The process is soothing, and we love eating it.

I find it the perfect winter meal.

I found this recipe recently on NPR’s website. My changes are noted parenthetically and involve convenience and some fat reduction. We were pretty happy with this, especially with Stilton Parmesan bread, though I would have liked to kick up the spice level rather than cut it back. But, alas, Joe can’t handle the heat. And I couldn’t handle life without Joe.


In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and salt, and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened, but not browned. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes more (if using frozen corn, no need to cook). Add the potato, chicken stock, thyme, and bay leaf, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes: cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the sweet potato to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add the corn and chipotle and cook for 2 minutes more. Place the bacon in a medium bowl, add the sweet potato, corn, and pimientos, and toss in the chives and tarragon. Remove from the heat and set aside while you finish the soup.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme from the soup. With a mesh strainer or large slotted spoon, remove half of the solids from the pan and place in a blender. Add the evaporated milk, hold down the lid with a towel to avoid escaping steam, and blend until smooth. Return the puree to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add the pepper, taste, and add more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the sweet potato mixture, and serve.

Story + Rain uncovers the emerging trends and tastemakers that matter right now, as told to by the visionaries who set these moments in motion. Through candid conversations with our community of cultural arbiters, we provide a shoppable resource to discover today's most interesting purchases, people, and projects, as well as a platform to explore the global references and origins that led to these game-changing ideas and careers. By unearthing unexpected juxtapositions, we act as a catalyst for creativity. There's magic in the mix.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 3/4 pound boiling potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups fresh (cut from about 3 ears) or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble when cooled.

Add the butter and onions to the pot. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the water, clam juice, potatoes, celery, red-pepper flakes, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Return the bacon to the pot. Add the corn, milk, and cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cod and pepper. Bring back to a simmer and cook until just done, about 3 minutes longer.

Corn Chowder

  • Total Time: 45m
  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Serving Size: 6
  • Level: medium
  • Calories: 340

8 ears corn, shucked
14 cups cold water
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup siggi’s 4% plain skyr, plus more for serving

To make the stock, cut the corn from the cobs and set aside. Break the cobs in half and place them in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours, or until reduced by half. Dispose of the cobs and set broth aside.

In another pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring often until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved corn kernels and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour the corn stock, about 7 cups, into the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Using a blender, puree half of the soup in batches, 2 cups at a time. In the last batch, add the skyr to the blender and blend together with the soup. Return to the pot and stir in the heavy cream. Serve hot or chilled, dolloped with more skyr.

This Chilled Corn Soup Is the Summeriest Thing Ever

Move over, New England clam chowder. We love you--but sometimes, on a really sweltering and humid day, you're just too hot, too heavy. And we've found something a little more our speed. It keeps it light, but still playful. It's seasonal. And it's way more chill.

Literally: This corn soup is served cold. It's on the lighter side (no cream here!) but still rich with butter. And instead of clams, this recipe plunks a big helping of lobster salad into the bowl for a shellfish fix. Christened with celery leaves and fresh tarragon, this soup has a bright, fresh flavor that the New England classic would never be able to pull off. Sorry, clam chowder. We're having a summer fling.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced celery hearts
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small sweet yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced, or more to taste
  • 2 cups fish stock
  • 2 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice
  • 2 ears corn, removed from cob
  • 1 pound coho salmon - skinned, boned, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch chopped fresh parsley (Optional)

Heat butter and vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat add celery, onion, carrot, red pepper, and yellow pepper. Cook and stir until soft and onion is translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.

Stir potatoes, fish stock, and clam juice into the vegetable mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in corn simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Mix salmon, cream, dill, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper into the potato mixture reduce heat to low. Cook and stir until salmon flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Ladle chowder into bowls garnish with parsley.

Use the Pressure Cooker for Quick, Intense Corn Soup

If it seems like I've been writing a lot about corn lately, it's because I have. Come mid-summer, there's nothing I like more—with perhaps the exception of perfect tomatoes. But perfect tomatoes are fewer and farther between than great ears of corn. My wife, Adri, and I have been eating corn nearly every day for the last few weeks.

There's nothing that beats the simple, sweet pleasure of corn on the cob, but a good corn soup comes in a close second. As an added benefit, it also eliminates the need to pick at your teeth to remove stray corn skins after you're done with it, an act that is as annoying for the picker as it is unsexy for the one who must observe the picker in the act of picking. In other words, corn soup is the corn preparation of choice for date nights.

The real key to a good corn soup lies in extracting as much flavor as possible out of those cobs. Sure, there are plenty of sweet juices and starch in the kernels themselves, but throw away the cobs and you're tossing flavor right into the compost bin. My traditional corn chowder recipe calls for you to scrape excess corn milk out of the cobs with the back of a knife, then also make a quick stock flavored with those spent cobs. It works well, but I wondered if my pressure cooker might make it work even better.

As I discovered a while back, the pressure cooker is the ideal piece of kitchen equipment for making deeply flavorful chicken stock in a fraction of the time. Stock cooked in a pressure cooker extracts flavor from chicken bones in less than 20% of the time it takes on the stovetop, and it gets more flavor out of them to boot. If it works for my chicken, why not for my corn?

I made two batches of corn soup side by side. For the first, I made a quick stock on the stovetop by simmering empty corn cobs in store-bought chicken stock, then used that stock to finish off my soup, which also included sautéed leeks and garlic, corn kernels, bay leaves, and tarragon stems. The second batch I made by throwing the corn cobs into a pressure cooker with chicken stock and the remaining ingredients from the get-go.

There was no doubt about it: The version made in the pressure cooker had a more intense corn aroma and richer texture due to the starch extracted from the cobs. Not only that, but I found that using the pressure cooker completely eliminated the need to scrape out the corn milk from the cobs—plenty of starchy liquid comes out on its own. So much, in fact, that even without a thickener like flour or potato, this corn soup comes out as thick and rich as heavy cream, despite having only a couple of tablespoons of butter in the whole batch.

After cooking on high pressure for 15 minutes, I discarded the spent cobs, tarragon stems, and bay leaves, then pureed the rest together in a blender, seasoning with a touch of salt and pepper. For extra smoothness, I pushed the entire concoction through a fine mesh strainer.

The resulting golden liquid tasted more like corn than corn itself. It was corn compressed, multiplied, and intensified.

I was blown away by how intense the flavor of this soup was. Even after I'd thinned it out with some additional stock, it was still the corniest corn soup I'd ever had. I served mine with some chopped tarragon, chopped chives, and a drizzle of olive oil, along with a few raw corn kernels for that fresh crunch.

My wife got hers with chunks of crab meat for an extra treat. This is not because I don't also love crab (I do), but because, all corniness aside, I know how powerful a few well-placed and inexpensive bribes can be in the complicated commerce of marital bliss.


Step 1

Cut kernels from cobs and place in a large bowl. Place cobs in a medium pot and add Parmesan rinds, if using, mushroom stems, thyme, bay leaf, 2 tsp. salt, and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth is fragrant and reduced by half, 40–50 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl discard solids and set broth aside.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat 4 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add corn kernels, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and juices have evaporated and browned on the bottom of the pot, 12–15 minutes. Reserve ½ cup corn for serving transfer remaining corn to a medium bowl.

Step 3

Add wine to pot and cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Scrape into bowl with remaining corn.

Step 4

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in same pot over medium and cook bacon until golden brown and fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Add potatoes, shallots, leek, garlic, and chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but haven’t taken on any color, 12–15 minutes. Add chiles and cook until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until nutty and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved broth, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork-tender, 10–15 minutes. Add cream and corn mixture and cook, stirring, until chowder has thickened, 5–10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in marjoram. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Step 5

Divide chowder among bowls. Top with parsley, oyster crackers, and reserved ½ cup corn season with pepper.

How would you rate Creamy Corn Chowder?

Made this once and LOVED it! Do you think subbing with coconut milk would work?

Everyone loved this! I'm in the UK where we have single and double cream instead of heavy and. regular? So I used double cream as I thought that was more like heavy cream, but next time I would definitely replace some with single cream or even (whole) milk. The chowder was very very thick, I could have easily left out the flour - of course, I'm not familiar with "authentic" chowder, perhaps it's supposed to be very thick! Anyway, due to the extreme thickness and creaminess, it felt a little bit like eating pasta sauce with a spoon. but it was tasty! I did need to keep adding some Frank's hot sauce to cut through the richness and sweetness - so, next time, would use less fatty dairy and perhaps replace some of the corn with other veg/more shrooms.

The chiles in the video are quite small. I had about a four inch Fresno that I seeded & used 3/4. Delish but this chowder is hoooottt. Could totally be the chile but just a word to the spice averse.

Sooooo good. This chowder is super flavorful and definitely worth the work. I skipped the mushrooms and marjoram and it was still delicious. I’ll add sliced kielbasa next time for a husband-approved dinner. And some fresh dill on top would be divine.

I love this chowder so much I have to force myself not to hog the entire batch. It speaks to a need I never knew I had and I find I need a word more descriptive than delicious.

So good!! Iɽ recommend making the broth the day before so that you can split up the labor between two days. Iɽ also add the shallot roots/skins to the broth to make it even more delicious and you can get most of the mis en place out of the way before you make the chowder. A perfect recipe for these kinds of days

IT's SO GOOD! Worth the work. Doubled the potato and the bacon, made it perfectly chunky!

Wow, such a delicious and hearty soup! So amazing, will make again. Also added in a couple of pinches of ground Sichuan peppercorns and loved the bit of heat and additional floral notes. This is a soup you can be proud to serve to houseguests on a chilly day.

This is so delicious! I made it today for the first time and made some tweaks from the original recipe: used 8 cups of vegetable broth instead of H2O for the corn cob broth nearly doubled the garlic, bacon, and potato quantity (at boyfriend's request lol) and only used 1 cup of heavy cream. SO YUMMY.

Great recipe! Although there's some prep, the actual cooking isn't too intense. I'm trying to get more into cooking, and my one mishap was overcooking the bacon in too hot of a pan. Round 2 was much more successful. The final product has a great corn taste that isn't too sweet but balanced. I think the Fresno chiles really elevate the dish. I made a full recipe and have easy to reheat leftovers. It's also quite hearty.

SO GOOD. Even until I was almost done, I wasn’t sure. I added salt until it tasted right, cooked until potatoes were soft, rested for 15 minutes. and that’s when the magic happened. This is one of the most flavorful chowders I’ve ever eaten. I substituted jalapeños for fresnos. That’s the only thing I changed from the recipe- it seems like a complicated procedure, but it really does turn out wonderfully. I accidentally reduced my broth too much, so added a bit of chicken stock to make sure I had enough liquid, and that did the trick. I already have plans to make this for friend and family get togethers.

Lots of ingredients and steps but totally worth it. I think of this recipe almost like making ramen - very layered and complex flavors that end up just so rich and flavorful but not too heavy. I couldn’t find Anaheim pepper so I used one small jalapeño which definitely added some heat. I also only used about a cup of cream instead of two.

End of summer meets the beginning of soup season with this one! Flavors were complex yet comforting

yes, this chowder is a bit labor intensive but worth it. Next time I am using my own vegetable stock as a base and making a "Corn Cream" with the cobs to add into the final stage. I found the ɼorn broth' murky and lacking a real contribution. Corn cream: In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the cream. Add the corn cob, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Let the milk infuse on your countertop for 1 hour. Strain the mixture through a chinois into a clean bowl. For the corn, I added a rounded tsp of sugar toward the end of butter cooking which elevated the sweetness just a bit & added a hint of caramelization. As for the marjoram . I may try a blend of basil, chives, and parsley or simply just fresh tarragon at the end as its a classic paired with corn. Definitely using new red potatoes next time (unpeeled) rather than russet. Appreciated the shiitake and Fresno!

I have made this recipe three times now, and while it takes a while, it's not too hard to make. It is SO DELICIOUS. I have eaten it all within 3 days. I have halved the recipe each time as it's just for me and the cooking time decreases a little for each step. Will save this to make for every corn season to come!

Making the broth is so worth it! My first time making corn chowder and it is absolutely delicious. Thank you!

Watch the video: Summer Corn and Chicken Chowder (January 2022).