Thursday, September 8, 2011

Corn, White Bean, and Squash Blossom Chowder - For My Legume Love Affair 38 and Souper Sunday

Corn, White Bean, and Squash Blossom Chowder

It is sweater weather, or so the collection of current catalogs tells me. They come in twos and threes, now, every day, cluttering a mailbox as small as a shoebox, crushing beyond view any vital correspondence like phone bills and dental appointment reminders.

The pages are filled with ponchos and polos; capes and cardigans; turtlenecks and twin sets. I love to bundle up in natural, knitted fibers with sleeves too long and colors that rival the burning bush and the golden ginkgo. But not in August, although I have been known to ladle into deep stews in July, and scrape at cups of Italian ice in January.

What's needed here and now, when the Boston ivy is just peaking a crackled, rusted leaf or two, is the tradition of the transitional. Perhaps a light, loose twist of silk on the shoulders of that gauzy garden smock you run around town in, or a chowder that effortlessly straddles the seasonal shift with kernels of fresh corn, gentle white beans, musky herbs, and the crepe-paper frills of festive squash blossoms. With a creamy broth that tastes like cashmere, and a clutter of textures as delicate as twisted baby cable stitch, you can sip on waning summer while waiting for pumpkins not yet even green on the vine.

Windows at Skylands

Corn, White Bean, and Squash Blossom Chowder - My Own Recipe

Serves 4


2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
1 half yellow pepper, chopped after removing seeds and inner membrane
1 half stalk celery, sliced into thin crescents
3 cups whole milk, heavy cream, light cream, half and half (or any ratio of them)
1/2 teaspoon ground or rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaf or 3 whole dried leaves
3 large ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned of silk
3 cups cooked white beans, drained
12 squash blossoms, sliced into rings after rinsing, stemming, and removing inner reproductive structures (either threads or stumps)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add onion and yellow pepper, cooking until they are softened, but not brown (about 6 minutes). Add celery, and cook another 3 minutes. Add dairy, sage, and bay leaves. Bring to a slow simmer and maintain while preparing the corn.

In a large bowl, carefully shave the kernels of corn from the ears with a very sharp knife. Keep the ears fully vertical, standing in the bowl, and shave down away from you to prevent injury. Reserve any corn liquid you collect. Add corn and liquid to saucepan. Bring stock back to simmer and maintain another 3 minutes. Stir in beans. Heat through for 1 minute. Stir in 3/4 of squash blossom rings, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Ladle soup into 4 bowls, garnishing each with the few remaining raw squash blossom rings. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

This recipe is for Preeti of Write Food - Relishing Recipes, who is hosting August's edition of My Legume Love Affair #38. I am also sending this to Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammies) Sundays, created and hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.


Been There, Done That ~

New England Clam and Mashed Potato Chowder
Japanese Corn Cream Soup
Lima Bean and Artichoke Soup

Other People's Eats ~
Five Ways to Eat Squash Blossoms from The Kitchn
Squash Blossom and Garlic Frittata from food52
Squash Blossom Pesto from The Runaway Spoon
Corn Chowder from Simply Recipes
Smoky Corn Chowder from The Soup Chick


  1. That chowder looks marvelous and so comforting! A great combination of ingredients.

    Lovely windows. For a minute, I though you were in England...



  2. Oh this looks incredible!!!:) yummy!

  3. Quite an interesting chowder,simply delicious..

  4. This sounds delicious, and vegetarian, good for me ;-).


  5. I have never tried zucchini flowers but my brother has raved about them... of course, the deep-fried versions. I am excited how you just add them to this lovely soup! Looks delicious! :)

    I am so not ready for sweater weather, either.. although the days are dark in the morning, so I know the summer's end is near. :(

  6. That is one hell of a delicious chowder. Would love to have a bowl :)

  7. Very nice recipe, Susan. The golden corn makes you feel like it's still summer, no matter what the weather is outside.

  8. Love this chowder and gorgeous photos!

  9. Comfort food days are coming soon Susan!! The mornings are crisp, my favourite time of the year.

  10. So nice to have you back at Souper Sundays. ;-) I love the look of this chowder--it is so hearty and colorful.

  11. Thanks, Rosa. This estate was fashioned in the English style when old wealth was unchecked by income taxed. I have many more shots from this outing, but not yet the time to process and post them on Flickr.

    Hi, Sandra! Thanks so much.

    Priya - Thanks. It turned out really well.

    Thanks, Alessandra. A chowder doesn't need seafood nor bacon to give it flavor and texture.

    Janet - I did recently make the fried version, but with a lighter touch. They were amazing. The soup was a great success. I hope you can find them for your own experimenting in non-traditional recipes.

    Priya - Thanks. I truly wish I could have shared.

    Thanks, Simona. Corn is always golden (even the white varieties), but there was something so special about those squash blossoms. Loved, love, loved them - the color, flavor, and texture.

    Thanks, Magic of Spice.

    Val - Although I'm a sucker for all four seasons, I do favor early fall. I didn't marry in September for nothing. And, yes, that oven is going to be on plenty, cranking out casseroles and gratins.

    Hi, Deb. Thanks. I expect to participate more often now that the weather is cooler and begging more and more for soups.