You might not be the kind of person who eats chowder in the summer, but I am the kind of person who eats chowder in the summer, especially when there’s fresh corn on the cob involved.
Because it’s officially summer and I love fresh corn, I adjusted it to add kernels of corn and to make the roux in the microwave (more on that in a minute), and the result was a savory summer comfort food that we enjoyed on the summer solstice last night. I paired it with some Red Lobster Cheddar biscuits, which I love to make from their boxed mix that you can find in grocery stores.
When you’re cutting the kernels off the cob, use the back of the knife to also scrape all the corn milk/juice that you’ll find at the base of each kernel. All that corn flavor — and by all means, use a third or fourth ear if you really like corn — adds a sweetness to the stew.
And for making the roux in the microwave. It sounds unconventional, but I learned this tip in a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and it worked really well, especially for a multicooker recipe, where part of the point is to not have to cook on the stove.
Now, can you make this soup without an Instant Pot? Of course, you’ll just cook the potatoes in the clam juice at a simmer until they are soft and then add the roux, corn, milk, cream and clams to simmer a little longer.
Summer Corn and Clam Chowder
6 to 8 ounces bacon, chopped (about 1/2 package)
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 cups clam juice (or liquid from the packaged clams, plus water)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Kernels and juice from 2 ears of corn
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 (6-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained, with juice reserved
Green onions, chopped, for garnish
Place the bacon in the Instant Pot and turn on the Saute function to medium heat. Cook the bacon until it starts to release its fat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and continue cooking until the onions have softened and the bacon has left brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add the wine to the pot and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Turn off the heat and add the diced potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper.
Close the Instant Pot and select the manual option to cook for 5 minutes of pressure time.
While the Instant Pot cooks, mix together the butter and flour in a small microwavable bowl to make the roux. Heat the mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds, stir and then cook again for 45 seconds. Do this one or two more times until the flour starts to brown.
Once the Instant Pot has finished cooking, use quick release to let the steam out of the pressure cooker. Then take off the lid and add the roux, corn kernels and juice, milk, cream and clams.
Press cancel and then saute to bring the chowder to a simmer. The soup will thicken as it simmers, about 5 minutes. Serve with green onions.
— Adapted from a recipe by Laura Pzzaglia, hippressurecooking.com