This is where summer and fall collide. Where the cool evenings justify a warm bowl of soup. A meeting of sweet, crisp corn and wilted chanterelles that smell of woods and earth. Bacon and thyme reiterate that earthiness before dill showers over the light creamy broth, bringing with it a fleeting freshness. Really, it’s more fall than summer in this bowl but it is nice to shuck one more cob, tangle with its silky whiskers and pop a few sweet and starchy kernels into my mouth before they soften in the soup.
I’m not quite ready for the heft of a typical chowder made thick with roux so mine is more broth-focused than creamy but you can change that if you’d like. Also, I’ve brought my love of beer to the bowl by deglazing with a lightly colored wheat. The second round of this soup I made the mistake of deglazing with a pungent and hoppy IPA which made the soup bitter. So go with something light or use white wine instead.
Chanterelle Chowder with Bacon and Corn
4 strips bacon, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1/2 bulb fennel, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 – 2 1/2 cups (6 ounces) roughly chopped chanterelles
1/2 cup (4 ounces) wheat beer or white wine
2 1/2 cups (1 pound 4 ounces) chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cubed (1” inch) yellow potatoes (2 small/medium)
1 cup corn kernels (6 ounces) (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cook the bacon in a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat until the fat renders and it just starts to crisp, 5-7 minutes.
Add the onion, fennel and garlic with a pinch of salt then saute for an additional 7 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Turn the heat to medium-high then add the thyme and chanterelles. Saute until caramelized in parts, 3-5 minutes. Deglaze with the beer (or wine), scraping up the browned bits off the bottom.
Add the stock and potatoes, bring to a simmer then cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the corn and cream and simmer just until the corn is cooked through.
Stir in dill, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. Finish with lemon juice then taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
Note: For a thicker chowder stir in 2 1/2 teaspoons flour before you add the beer or wine. Cook the flour for 1 minute so the finished soup doesn’t have a raw flour taste. Slowly whisk in the beer or wine then proceed as written.