I’ve been craving soup this week. We had pumpkin chili and cornbread on Sunday and this corn chowder on Tuesday. The weather is still pleasant, despite a brief brisk day this week, but something about this time of year makes me excited for comfort food and fall fare. This thick corn chowder is satisfying and full of flavor, but not full of calories. It is thickened with potatoes, so there is no milk, cream or butter in it. The secret to this soup’s awesome flavor is bacon! You could omit the bacon to make it vegan and saute the veggies in oil if you want, but the smoky flavor from the bacon really makes the dish. This soup comes together in about 30 minutes, so you can enjoy homemade soup any night of the week. Enjoy!
1 pound potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled, and diced small (use red or Yukon gold for the creamiest texture, but russet will work just fine)
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
4 slices uncured bacon
3 ears of corn with the kernels removed (or 1 bag of frozen corn), divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red pepper
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp salt (or more depending on your taste)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Green onions, chopped (optional)
Pour stock into a medium saucepan and add potatoes. Cook over medium to medium/high heat until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. (Pretty much like making mashed potatoes)
While the potatoes are cooking fry bacon in a large pot until crisp. Remove bacon from pot and drain on paper towels. Do not drain the bacon fat from the pan! To the bacon grease add the chopped onion, celery, and red pepper. Saute over medium heat until the veggies soften and become translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
When the potatoes are soft, remove the saucepan from the heat. Carefully pour the broth and potatoes into a blender. Add 1 cup of the corn kernels and blend until smooth. Remember to vent the lid a little or soup will explode out of the blender. Don’t ask me how I know this:) You can also use an immersion blender if you have one.
Pour the potato mixture into the large saucepan and stir to combine. Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook 5-10 minutes, or until the soup is thickened to your liking.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle bacon over the top. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and green onions if desired.