Corn Chowders, Corn Puddings, and Cornbread

While fresh, sweet corn-on-the-cob reigns supreme in the summer, other corn dishes are begging to be tried!

By Familytime


Fresh corn, bought from a local farmer’s market on the day it’s picked, is unmatched in terms of pure, sweet-tasting goodness. But take that same corn and turn it into corn chowder or corn pudding and you have another dish fit for superlatives. The same can be said of freshly-baked cornbread.

When you decide to go beyond plain corn-on-the-cob, your best bet is to scrape the corn kernels from the cob. If this is too much of a chore, turn to frozen corn kernels, which tend to be firmer and a little better-tasting than canned.

If you yearn for hot cornbread, buy white or yellow cornmeal and look for small sacks labeled with the words “stone ground.” This means the corn — which is a grain, not a vegetable — was slowly ground between large stones. The method, while time consuming, does not rely on heat and the gentler process leaves the meal full flavored. Still, if you cannot find stone-ground cornmeal, buy any product; the results will taste good!

Corn Chowder
Chowder does not have to include clams! Corn chowder, creamy and peppery and chock full of golden corn kernels, is a true delight. Chowders by definition include chunks of potatoes and most recipes have them. Corn chowder recipes also may call for chicken, shrimp, or ham.

Like New England clam chowder, corn chowder usually requires milk or cream. It’s cooked fairly quickly and generally is meant to be served as a main course — with a tossed green salad or sliced tomatoes, for instance, and perhaps a loaf of bread.

Corn Pudding
Corn pudding is a savory side dish with the texture of a fallen (and slightly heavy) soufflé. It can be made with fresh or frozen corn kernels, although if you have fresh, you will appreciate the intense corn flavor.

Spooned hot from the casserole dish, corn pudding hits the spot all year long. It’s appropriate for the warm weather because of the rich, true and pleasing flavor of corn. Serve it with grilled chicken, steak, or pork. What a lovely summer meal!

Hot bread on the table, even when the temperature hovers in the eighties, is always a hit. When you serve a meal of cold food, such as cold chicken salad, sliced tomatoes, and vinegared cucumbers, a pan of right-from-the-oven bread rounds out the meal.

Cornbread, a classic quick bread, is very easy to make and always hits the spot. It’s even delicious at breakfast.

You will find recipes for cornbread printed on packages of cornmeal, in cookbooks, and on our site. Some recipes include flour, some do not. Some call for sugar, others don’t. Some suggest you melt butter or bacon fat in the baking pan (often a cast-iron skillet) before pouring in the batter. Some are made with jalapenos or cheese, while others are more straightforward and mild. And then there are cornbreads with more exotic ingredients, such as olives and feta, as in one of our recipes.

Most of these variations speak of the origins of America’s favorite quick bread. Sweeter breads tend to have originated in the South, while heartier versions (made with flour) are northern. Those with jalapenos or cheese were created to be served alongside chili.

All are delicious.

So, this summer, look beyond corn-on-the-cob every now and then and treat your family to corn chowder, corn pudding, and steaming hot cornbread. And wait for the “Yumms!”