Smoky Corn Chowder

Smoky Corn Chowder

I’ve been playing around with developing a corn chowder recipe for a few months now, as it took a few tries to find the perfect blend of smokey and spicy I was looking for. I have found that many chowder recipes are very thick and creamy, however, mine has only a hint of cream. I found that adding a smaller amount of cream created a nice balance of flavours.

Late summer/early autumn is the perfect time to indulge in delicious, locally grown corn. I bought my spray free cobs of corn at the Halifax Brewery Market. I have included directions for roasting the corn prior to adding it to the soup, as I find this adds a nice layer of depth to the flavour of the soup. That being said, I have tried this recipe using frozen corn and it is still delicious, without this extra step.

I have added some southwest flavours to this recipe, including New Mexico Hatch chili powder and poblano peppers. While I have found delicious poblano peppers locally, hatch chili pepper may be a bit harder to find. Feel free to substitute ancho chili powder (mild) or chipotle chili powder (smokey & hot) instead. You could also use regular chili powder if you prefer.

This recipe creates a very thick and hearty soup. We comfortably served five as a main meal and all left the table fully satisfied. You could serve this soup to a larger crowd as a starter, and add a bit more broth/seasoning and/or puree some of the soup, if you prefer your soup a little less chunky.

Smoky Corn Chowder


3 Tbsp avocado oil, separated
5 ears of corn
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 medium-size potatoes, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 Tbsp hatch chili powder
1½ tsp cumin
1½ tsp coriander
1½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp smoked sea salt
6 cups broth
1½ cups cooked black beans (or one 14oz can)
¼ cup soaked cashews
¾ cup water
2 tsp lime juice
¼ tsp liquid smoke
2 cups finely sliced kale leaves
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro
Chili flakes


Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush ears of corn with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes, then rotate and roast for 15 minutes more. Allow ears to cool until easy to handle, then remove roasted kernels and set aside.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp avocado oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, poblano, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt, sauteing until soft, about 10 minutes. Add potato, tomato, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and smoked sea salt, stirring to combine. Add vegetable broth, corn kernels and black beans, bring to a boil then lower to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes more.

While the soup is simmering, combine cashews and 3/4 cup water in a high-speed blender along with liquid smoke, lime juice and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth.

When the soup is done simmering, stir in smokey cashew cream mixture and kale. Simmer for 2-3 minutes more, and finish off with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro and chili flakes.

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