Sweet Corn Chowder with Toasted Tortillas

6 cups frozen sweet corn, defrosted
3 scallions, each one trimmed and halved
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup semolina
6 cups hot vegetable stock made from concentrate or bouillon cubes
15 cups lightly salted tortilla chips
2 cups grated cheese
2 long red chiles, deseeded and finely chopped, optional

NPR.org, January 21, 2009 · The tortillas before were the soft flour ones. These are those crisp, crunchy corn-gritty triangles that somehow always feel like a guilty pleasure. Although having said that, I know only that "guilty pleasures" exist, but I have never seen the point of feeling guilty about pleasure. Rather, I see plenty of reason for feeling guilty about failing to take pleasure in things.

When I plan to make this, I tend to take a big pack of frozen corn out of the deep freeze at breakfast time, in readiness for a superquick, fantastically soothing, mellow-yellow, and very pleasing supper that night.

Use whatever cheese you like; mostly I go for Cheddar since I always have some in the fridge, but I am happy about using up other bits and pieces. If children are eating, it's wise to omit the chiles—unless they're being very annoying.


1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Drain the corn and put into a food processor with the scallions, garlic, and semolina. Blitz to a speckled primrose mush; unless you have a big processor you may have to do this in two batches.
3. Tip this mixture into a large saucepan, add the hot vegetable stock, and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let the chowder simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, spread the tortilla chips out on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle over the cheese. Warm in the hot oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts over the chips.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls and put a small mound of cheese-molten chips into the middle of each bowl. Sprinkle over some of the red chile, if you feel like it, and serve immediately to very grateful people.