I feel like you’re not really a “chef” unless you can (1) cook eggs and (2) make a good soup. Here’s an attempt at (2). I’ve had a hankering for corn chowder for a while now. It’s kind of an odd food concept: corn is so summer and chowder is so winter…the entire food has a contradictory air about it. Still, I’ve been feeling a little physically under-the-weather lately, and it has been uncharacteristically chilly here, so I decided to “wing it” and make my own comfort food.
Note to readers: I’m going to put this under the “Vegetarian” food category. Despite my version including bacon and chicken stock, you could always cook this without the bacon and using veggie stock. Two very easy–and let’s face it, cheaper–substitutions and you’re done.
- Bacon (I used about 4-6 ounces of the “bacon ends”–so, not actual strips)–coarsely chopped.
- Corn (couldn’t find any fresh corn in the grocery store, so I settled for half a bag of frozen corn)
- Approximately 8-10 small gold potatoes, chopped
- Most of a bell pepper (I foolishly used a yellow one…would totally get a red one next time for added color)–finely chopped.
- Two jalapenos, de-seeded and chopped finely
- Chicken stock (used most of a 32 ounce carton)
- Flour, for thickening (if needed)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Shredded pepperjack cheese (for garnish)
- Take your bacon and place it in a pot and start to cook it on medium-high to high heat. I’m not really into crispy bacon, but you want the meat to start cooking, and the main thing you want is that “sweetness at the bottom of the pot.” When you’re got some awesome browning action, remove the bacon.
- Next, toss in the peppers and the potatoes. Stir it around in the bacon grease. Sprinkle some flour in there too to continuing the bottom browning action.
- Pour some chicken stock into the pot. You want the veggies mostly covered. Add in the corn and return the bacon.
- REDUCE THE HEAT! The next idea is to cook low and slow until the potatoes are soft. It you feel at any point like the mixture isn’t thick enough, add a tablespoon of flour and stir well. If you feel the soup is too thick, add an ounce or two of chicken stock. Stir approximately every 5-10 minutes (if you’re not careful, the potatoes will sink and stick to the bottom). Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
- When you’re close to serving, stir in some half-and-half (I used probably less than 4 ounces for four servings). Ladle into some bowls and top with shredded pepper-jack.