Looking for a warm and comforting bowl of soup for a cold day? After all this snow, the Accidental Locavore definitely was! Here’s a recipe for a great creamy corn chowder put together in less than 45 minutes, with corn I froze from the overload this summer and my own bacon. Serves 4.
- 4 strips bacon cut into 1/2″ lardons (strips)
- 2 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears of corn if you have fresh)
- 2 tablespoons butter (could be less if your bacon renders a lot of fat)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups milk
- 2-3 medium new potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small jalapeno pepper (optional), seeded and finely diced
Heat the bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish, leaving the rest of it (and the rendered fat) in the pot. Add the butter, thyme, garlic, onions, and bay leaf. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat, until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Add the corn, milk (jalapenos, if using) and potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf. Partially puree the chowder either with an immersion (stick) blender, or by taking about a cup of the chowder and pureeing it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add it back to the rest of the soup, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the bacon garnish, and enjoy.
My verdict: Since I decided at the last minute that this was what I needed for lunch, both the corn and jalapeno were frozen. Instead of dicing the jalapeno, I just dumped it in whole and removed it before pureeing the soup. It wasn’t spicy enough for my taste, so the whole thing went in the blender (and now it’s probably a little too spicy). I’ve made a vegetarian version of this, substituting a small chipotle in adobo and some of it’s sauce for the bacon (leave out the jalapeno unless you like it super-hot). If you’re clever enough to save corn cobs, cut them in half and toss them in, it adds flavor to the stock. I also added a piece of smoked pork rind that I had from making the bacon just to add some more flavor (and removed it before pureeing).