Fresh Sweet Onion and Corn Chowder


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Farmers Market Authority
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Southern Farmers Mk Cookbook

Fresh Sweet Onion and Corn Chowder from Southern Farmers Market Cookbook by Holly Herrick

One of the things I get most excited about in spring, at the first blush spring and early summer, are the pearly-white bulbs of sweet onions with their glorious crowns of grass-green stems. Pulled fresh from the just warmed earth, they ooze spring freshness that belies the dormancy of winter though which they’ve tenaciously grown while the rest of us have mostly slept. They are put to good use in this delicate, sweet chowder, in which onion flavor is layered with pungent notes throughout. Look for the Silver Queen variety. Its crunchy texture pops in each creamy bite.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup pancetta (or substitute bacon), cut into 1/4” cubes

3 medium fresh sweet onions, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced (reserve the green stems from 1 of the onions for garnish)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons sweet or dry vermouth

1/4 cup dry white wine

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob of 2 to 3 ears of corn

1 to 2 tablespoons half-and-half

1 tablespoon butter, optional



Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the pancetta cubes; toss to coat.

Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides.

Add the onions; stir to coat.

Season generously with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium.

Cook until softened, stirring from time to time, or about 12 minutes.

Add the fresh thyme, vermouth and wine. Bring up to a boil and reduce to medium.

Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the stock and corn.

Bring up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Cook until corn has softened, about another 15 minutes.

Add the half-and-half and remaining tablespoon of butter.

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a sprinkle of freshly cut thyme and some of the reserved onion greens, lightly chopped.

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe from Southern Farmers Market Cookbook by Holly Herrick (Gibbs Smith, June, 2009)