Sweetcorn Chowder with Smoked Paprika and Cayenne
This Sweetcorn Chowder is a hearty, vegetarian soup. It includes potatoes, which give it a thick, rib-sticking quality, which makes it perfect as a warming lunch on a cold winter’s day. To balance the sweetness of the sweetcorn, I have added smoked paprika which adds a smoky warmth and depth of flavour and also a touch of cayenne to give a bit more heat. Without these spices, and also the sour cream and chives which are added when it is served, I think this soup would be a bit too sweet and lacking in any complexity of flavour. My inspiration for the smoked paprika was my memory of the delicious, smoky corn cobs that we cook at our summer barbecues. I think that smokiness is a great flavour companion to sweetcorn.
My parents were very keen vegetable growers. They both loved to eat and to cook and they loved to produce home-grown vegetables to feed their family. Some vegetables, such as runner beans or onions, were good but not hugely better in taste to shop-bought versions. However, others such as new potatoes, peas, tomatoes and sweetcorn were so mind-blowingly different that it was almost like eating totally different vegetables.
Home-grown sweetcorn was one of my childhood favourites – young and eaten within hours of being picked so the natural sugars had not converted to starch – it was bursting with sweetness. This was in the 1970s and 1980s when supermarket veggies were not quite as good as they are now. Nowadays, the varieties of sweetcorn that are sold in shops are “supersweet”. The sweetness is good – no one wants un-sweetcorn – but it needs to be balanced. If you are cooking up a few sweetcorn cobs, here are some ideas to bring out the flavour.
- Spice – As with this Sweetcorn Chowder recipe, adding some spice tempers the sweetness. Anything that adds a bit of warmth, such as paprika, is good.
- Chilli – Adding a hit of chilli heat – either dried or fresh – is a great way to bring out the flavour of sweetcorn. Go as hot as you like.
- Herbs – Adding a bit of herby greeness also balances sweetcorn’s sweeness. Coriander (cilantro), parsley or chives are good flavour partners. You need something with a bit of a punch.
- Smoke – As with this recipe, sweetcorn loves a bit of smoke. Put it on the barbecue or grill it in the oven to give it that delicious smoky roasted flavour. Or you can cheat and add smoked paprika as I have done in this recipe.
- Sour – Clearly, sour balances sweet! Add a squeeze of lemon, or even better lime, to make your sweetcorn’s flavour sing.
- Fat – Not a healthy option but, as with many things, a big knob of butter will make it taste so much better.
- Salt – A sprinkling of salt will bring out that delicious sweet flavour.
Other home-made soup recipes
I have lots of easy, vegetable soup recipes. If you like this Sweetcorn Chowder, you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Fennel Soup or Jerusalem Artichoke Soup and showcase a single vegetable. Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup, Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato Soup, Celeriac and Apple Soup, Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.Print
This easy Sweetcorn Chowder is a hearty vegetarian soup. The sweetness of the corn is balanced by smoked paprika and cayenne. Serve with sour cream and chopped chives for extra flavour.
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 3 medium-sized potatoes
- 4 sweetcorn cobs
- 700 ml vegetable stock
- A little milk or water
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream and chives to serve
- Peel and roughly chop the onion.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped onion. Cook gently over a low heat for around 10 minutes until it is soft and golden.
- Peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the pan together with the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Cook for two minutes.
- Peel and roughly chop the potatoes.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from the cobs.
- Add the chopped potatoes and corn kernels to the pan.
- Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to simmering point. Cook gently for 20 minutes.
- Blend the soup in a food processor or by using a hand blender.
- At this stage you can add a little milk or water to thin the soup to your desired consistency. I tend to keep it quite thick and hearty.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- When you serve the soup you can add a teaspoon of sour cream and some chopped chives to each bowl.
Keywords: sweetcorn, chowder, soup,