This recipe is an Octofree mashup of two of my favorite summertime childhood foods: corn and chowder.
I have vivid memories of shucking corn on my parents’ back porch with my grandpa. He was an avid and talented vegetable gardener, and he’d always show up with a paper bag full of his delicious, bright red tomatoes for BLTs, and another full of corn on the cob. We’d take our time shucking the corn onto old newspapers, then boil it up until the kernels were tender and slather the cobs with butter. Nana’s Famous Potato Salad would make the meal complete.
None of it – from pulling the tough husks from the cobs, then removing the silky strands, to eating the piping hot, buttery corn on the cob – was neat and clean, but that was what made it fun!
Another strong childhood food memory involves slurping authentic New England clam chowder in Newport, Rhode Island. So, on a recent trip down memory lane, I had the idea of mashing up these two nostalgic flavors to create a creamy chowder – making it Octofree by featuring corn instead of clams and no butter or cream.
Shucking the corn and slicing the kernels off of the cob proved to be just as messy as I remember (although an Instagram follower had the genius idea to slice the kernels in a pie pan next time), and the end result was pure heaven.
Toast up your favorite gluten-free crusty bread to dip in the chowder (or, if you have fresh tomatoes on hand, a BLT would pair great with this) and dig in.
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- 8 ears of fresh corn, shucked and silks removed
- 3 tbsp soy-free Earth Balance
- .3 ounces (one package) soy-free bacon bits (I used Epic brand)
- ½ medium Vidalia onion, chopped
- ¼ cup Gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Flour)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups chicken stock (I use Kitchen Basics)
- 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free oat milk (I used Oatly)
- chopped fresh chives
- Slice the kernels from the corn cobs. Tip: You can do this in a pie pan to contain the kernels (wish I would have known that before I tested the recipe – thank you, Instagram!)
- Melt the Earth Balance in a stock pot over medium heat.
- Add the bacon bits and onion and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and fragrant.
- Add the gluten-free flour and garlic, stir to coat everything in flour and cook, stirring often, for another two minutes or so.
- Slowly pour in the chicken stock while whisking the contents of the pot.
- Bring to a boil, stirring often.
- Once the broth is boiling, carefully stir in the corn kernels and potatoes.
- Add thyme, bay leaf, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer and set a timer for about 20 minutes, stirring every once-in-a-while, until potatoes are tender.
- Remove bay leaf and transfer about 2 cups of the soup to a blender, then puree.
- Stir the pureed portion back into the pot with the rest of the soup, add the oat milk and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Spoon into bowls, garnish with chives and serve.