It curious to me that chowder became associated with winter foods since all of the items traditionally in a chowder–corn, potatoes, onions, tomatoes (if you’re a heathen)–are all summer vegetables. And there’s no shame in loving a good soup year-round.
If you want to make the most of the last of the corn at the market while also enjoying the first day of fall, this is the chowder for you!
If you’re making seafood-centric iteration of this dish, I recommend a seafood stock (here I have crab stock because I’m a bougie bitch who doesn’t throw anything away, but you can also use a chicken broth or bouillon), coconut milk, and whatever seafood you have laying around–shrimp, fish, a can of smoked oysters, doesn’t matter. If you want to make this vegan, which is super easy to do, just bulk up your veg with more corn and maybe some zucchini or summer squash, and trade out the seafood stock for vegetable stock..
You’ll also need the chowder basics–corn, potatoes, onions, garlic–and I like to bulk mine up a little with some other vegetables, here carrots, celery, and a fresh cayenne pepper. I love paprika and thyme in this dish as well, but you can play around with other options. If you’re out of garlic or don’t have a fresh pepper, dried is fine.
Dice all of your vegetables along with your potato and then sauté in the oil of your choosing with a good pinch of salt on medium for 3-5 minutes until the onions begin to sweat. Add your dried spices (again, paprika and thyme are my go-to) and cook a minute longer. Then add the stock (and a bay leaf if that’s your jam) so that it covers your vegetables by about two inches.
Bring to a low boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, chop your seafood into bite-sized pieces, if necessary. If you’re going vegetarian, you can skip this step.
When the soup is done simmering, add in 1/4 of a can of coconut milk per serving. (This variation here was made for two people, so I used 1/2 of a can.) Bring back to a low boil. At this point, you’ll want to taste your soup to make any adjustments for salt, spice, and other seasoning. You can also add a splash of hot sauce if so desired.
Now add your seafood and simmer until just cooked through, about two minutes.
To serve, add to bowl and top with fresh herbs of your choosing. I personally recommend cilantro and green onion, but basil or fresh thyme would be equally lovely.
And now you’re living that sweet sweet island chowder life. Close your eyes. It’s like there’s an ocean somewhere, making ocean sounds.