Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cheddar Corn Chowder

In one of my earlier posts I mentioned that I'm not a soup person. For those of you paying attention, this is my third soup recipe this month. Maybe cabin fever is starting to change me on a molecular level and I'm morphing into a soup lover after all. In any case, I've always made this soup (from Barefoot Contessa recipe) with frozen corn. I'm sure it would be sublime with fresh corn so I'll report back in the summer. Bottom line is that any recipe that starts with bacon has got to be good!

Cheddar Corn Chowder

8 ounces bacon, chopped (we love our bacon so I cook a little more)
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (I don't always use white chedddar)

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon but not so much bacon that it become "Bacon Soup" which is how Caroline likes it!

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