Thursday, 15 September 2011

Fresh corn chowder

I developed this chunky fresh soup for my Bestival menu in which I was attempting to bring the Isle of Wight back into the festival by using local seasonal ingredients. People from all over Britain go to Bestival passing rapidly through the picture perfect countryside. The Isle of Wight has some of the best ingredients in Britain however. I got this corn from farmer Ben Brown from Arreton, just a mile down the road from the festival. The corn was so sweet you could eat it raw straight from the cob. Like sugar.
I served this in soup bowl sized pumpkins, again from Ben Brown, oiled, salted and lightly roasted prior to filling them with soup.

Feeds 10:

2 tbsp butter
Some corn/veg oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp achiote seeds
6 ears fresh corn, shucked
4 whole chipotle peppers en adobo, finely diced (10g per pepper)
4- 5 tablespoons of corn meal/masa 
750 ml veg stock
600ml creme fraiche
2 tspns sea salt
1 tsp of smoked paprika
Fresh coriander, chopped 


Shuck corn by grasping it firmly and slicing downwards on each side with a sharp knife. The corn should fall away easily.
Lightly fry diced onion in butter and oil
Add the achiote seeds
Add corn and lightly sauté.
Add chipotles.
Add smoked paprika.
Keep stirring.
Add the corn meal.
Add hot veg stock (fresh made is best but I used cubes)
Add cream and salt.
Bring to a boil then simmer. 

Garnish with fresh coriander and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Serve this with cornbread (recipe in my book) spread with oak smoked garlic butter from The Garlic Shop. 


  1. What are achiote seeds? Sound interesting. I love corn - especially when it is really fresh. I remember eating some over in the US last fall and it was out of this world - so sweet like you say. I almost vowed never to eat British supermarket corn just paled in comparison to this wonderful stuff...Love the idea of serving it in a pumpkin bowl too! xxx

  2. The funniest thing about the corn? Imogen on the first night unravelling a load of fibres from her top "Oh no - all my dental floss had unravelled itself on the way" .... "Oh wait - it's the fibres from the corn husks"

  3. Absolutely loved the fresh corn chowder – and indeed the whole delightful meal – at Bestival, as mentioned in my guest blog for IoW food blog
    Have put IoW sweetcorn on shopping list; not sure where I'll find achiote seeds on the Isle, mind you! Is there an alternative?

  4. Achiote seeds are often used in Mexican cooking. You can get them here
    They aren't essential for the soup but add a Mexican authenticity.
    Achiote is both a spice and a dye, It's the seeds from the Annato tree.
    According to wikipedia it's uses in cosmetics means that it is sometimes called the lipstick tree.
    The flavour is mild: peppery and nutmeggy.

  5. was going to ask what achiote seeds were but I see the answer here. the chowder looks great and perfect for a rainy London day!

  6. was going to ask what achiote seeds were but I see the answer here. the chowder looks great and perfect for a rainy London day!


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