This hearty cod and corn chowder with celery, young potatoes, sweet peppers, and fresh herbs is a delicious way to bridge the seasons.
Even on the busiest nights, we almost always serve up a family dinner – in part because we believe in sitting down as a family and in part because it’s just easier to only cook once. It sounds so simple here on the screen, but in reality, finding a meal to suit the shifting tastes girls age 3 and 7 is not easy. Or at least, it wasn’t, until I realized the power of a good soup.
Like many of the best dishes, this one started with M.F.K. Fisher. I love the style of simple eating she advocates, and at the center of her frugal and delicious universe, is soup.
Contemporary cooks tend to make a big deal about soup. You know, the kind with lots of pork, sausage, and other layers of protein, along with stock and a host of vegetables. And you know, that kind is really good! But the soup I’m into these days is a little less polished. It’s adding leftover chicken and water to yesterday’s tomato sauce for a hearty lunch. Or combining these stems and those with a generous pat of butter for a robust vegetable broth. Soup is the way to fill in the gaps, use the odds and ends, and stretch whatever ingredients linger in the fridge.
A Simple Cod and Corn Chowder to Bridge the Seasons
Making the most of the in-between season we’re in, this creation is more stew than chowder. It’s layered with onion, peppers, and celery, plus big hunks of potatoes, the last of the summer corn, and tender pieces of wild caught Pacific cod. And though it’s a relatively quick and easy dinner (one that can be made in 40 minutes or maybe less), the rich flavors improve after a night in the fridge. Equal parts ease and deliciousness, we made a big double batch, and I think you should too.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 sweet bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 cups rich vegetable or chicken broth – low-sodium stock gives you the flexibility to season to taste
- sea salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups quartered young red and yellow potatoes
- 2 ears corn, kernels cut off with cobs reserved*
- 1 1/2 pounds cod, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- ground pepper to taste
- 4 scallions minced
- 2 tablespoons parsley minced
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and pepper. Stirring often, cook for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to brown. Pour in a splash of stock and scrape up any brown bits.
Add the remaining stock, a generous pinch or two of sea salt, and the potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn down to a bubbling simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Add corn and cod, and cook for 10 minutes more. Finally, stir in the apple cider vinegar and adjust seasoning to taste. Finish with scallions and parsley.
*I halved the cobs and added them to the broth while it simmered. This can give thinner broth some added flavor, but it's not a necessary step. You can add the cobs with the stock and then remove just before you add the kernels and fish.
Sherrie | With Food + Love says
This is the kind of food I like most. Light, yet comforting and soul soothing, the best end of summer meal there is.
Sherrie, You hit the nail right on the head! So glad you like the recipe! Thanks for dropping by!
Notes on Tea says
So happy you posted this recipe. Perfect for serving my mother this weekend.
rebecca eide says
If I ate fish I would make this. Really beautiful, very delicious sounding. I love your writing too. 🙂 Thanks for cooking seasonally.
This sounds wonderful! And I happen to have ingredient odds and ends similar to what you have in your beautiful soup. I think it was meant to be.
Patricia Scarpin says
I love soups! At home I make big pots and they’re never enough – even the picky eater (a.k.a. my husband) loves them.
What a wonderful idea to pair corn and cod, and the soup looks amazing on top of it all!
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
For living in New England, it’s funny how infrequently I make chowder. Maybe it’s because most recipes call for bacon… but I just love how light, yet hearty your version is. And that apple cider vinegar in there. Fabulous.
Making soups I almost always rely on vegetable and lately parmesan cheese. A fish soup is high on the list to be prepared, and this sounds like a great recipe to start with!
susanna faygenbaum says
i want to make this recipe tomorrow, but couple of questions.
can i substitute cod for flounder? as its the only fish i have at this time
also, is the corn cooked prior or its raw? and what do you do with the cobs?
Hi Susanna, I’m so excited you’re going to try it out. I think flounder will be just fine. If it’s a thin fillet, you may want to reduce the cook time. The corn kernels are put into the soup raw, and cook in the broth. As for the cobs, I cut them in half and added them to the broth for added flavor, but wasn’t convinced it made a huge difference. I’ll update the recipe to reflect that. Thanks for the feedback!
susanna faygenbaum says
hey, so i made it… it tasted good until i added apple cider, it became too sour, it def needed less then 1/4 of a cup :(…lets see if my 3 year old likes it..
Hi Susanna, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like the addition of the vinegar. Based on your feedback, I re-tested the recipe and don’t think that 1/4 cup of ACV should make the whole dish taste sour. In all my runs of the recipe, it lent a subtle tang that balanced out some of the richness. I wonder of your ACV isn’t fresh, and maybe the sour notes are more concentrated? Anyhow, I hope you were able to salvage the recipe with more water or broth. Thanks for sharing your experience –– I really appreciate you taking the time.
Could you please make a printer friendly version of your recipes? I would be so grateful. 🙂
Hi Zsofi, I know, I’m *such* a deadbeat on this. We’re working on a redesign right now, and I promise to include a printable recipe. Thanks for commenting!
Marsha Gainey says
This was good. I used the amount of vinegar called for in the recipe and found the soup to have a slight sour undertone, which wasn’t overwhelming at all. But I did add one tablespoon at a time until I had reached the recipe amount, just to be on the safe side. I had to sub a bit based on what I had on hand: pollock for cod, two baking potatoes for the new potatoes, dried parsley for fresh parsley. Involves a bit of veggie prep at the beginning, yet still can be ready in under an hour. With a piece of bread, makes a great one-pot meal.
GARY ROUTENBERG says
Why is there no way to print the recipe? Seems really dumb