Corn, Bacon, and Potato Chowder

A friend was over for dinner the other night. My eldest had requested grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner–a classic combo! My friend mentioned that he’s taken to adding a small can of corn to tomato soup and it sounded really good. But it got me thinking about corn chowder over the next few days. I bought a bag of frozen corn the next time I was in the grocery store. In my head, the chowder had potatoes, bacon, corn, and milk. I found recipe with potatoes and no corn, corn and no potatoes, corn and chilies. I finally found one in Pioneer Lady’s Hearty Winter Cookbook:, The: A Treasury of Old-Fashioned Foods and Fond Memories that used creamed corn but I figured having a nice white sauce as a base would be good enough. It also called for celery, which I think would have been a nice addition but I didn’t have any.

1/2 pound of bacon
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbs flour
1 quart milk
1/2 pound frozen corn
4 or 5 potatoes (about a pound), peeled, cubed, and simmered until tender
salt and pepper to taste
a few sprigs of parsley
paprika for garnish if you like

Cook the bacon in a large pot or do what I did: Bake the whole pound laid out in strips in a jelly roll pan at 450 for 15-20 minutes. Lift the bacon out on to paper towels to drain. Either add or leave 3 Tbs of bacon grease in the large pot. (Pour the rest into a clean can and store covered in your refrigerator. I use it for fried potatoes, corn bread, and a few other things. Not exactly heart healthy but oh so good!)

Cook the onion in the bacon grease 5 minutes or so, until softened. Add the celery if you want some and cook a few more minutes. Sprinkle the flour in and stir. Cook over medium-low heat 2-3 minutes, stirring almost constantly. I find it’s easiest if I heat the milk in the microwave during this time. Stir in the milk slowly, using a whisk or a nice flat wooden spoon. Turn the heat up to medium and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Turn the heat down but make sure it’s still simmering and cook a minute to thicken the base of your soup.

Add the corn, potatoes, bacon, salt and pepper. Heat through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley, then sprinkle with paprika if you like it like we do.

The soup got mixed reviews. 2 of us thought it was really good. 1 of us thought it was bland. She liked it better when she added more salt and pepper. I think the celery would be a nice touch and add some good flavor, but other than that