Wow! My first blog post, finally. I’ve been in agony over what to post first, wanting it to be exactly the right thing. I’m a perfectionist, and I wanted a perfectly written recipe, with perfect pictures of my perfect food. Did I mention I started this blog almost three months ago? Yep, that’s right, I’m also a terrible procrastinator. I have a tendency to shut down if things aren’t perfectly perfect, and I have to keep reminding myself that things are rarely never completely perfect. I started this blog as a fun outlet for my creativity and love of discovery and sharing; if I worried about perfection it wouldn’t be fun anymore and I would never post anything!
I chose this recipe as my first post because, well, because it’s the first one I’ve remembered to take pictures of! Now, about these pictures. Oh my. I am taking pictures with my Samsung Galaxy S5 because that’s what I have. And will continue to take pictures with for the foreseeable future. I’m also woefully new to food photography, but instead of spending all my time researching “How to Take the Perfect Picture”, I’ve decided to post and learn as I go. I promise, the food is delicious!
I just have to laugh. It really is good. Really, really!
Now, on to said food. I love soup in all forms; bisque, chili, chowder, broth, etc.,etc. Now that Fall is finally here, I wanted to create something that was filling and delicious, and met my craving for comfort food. Few of my recipes are perfect (there’s that word again) the first time I make them, but this one needed no tweaking as far as I was concerned. More importantly, it needed no tweaking as far as Mr. Pants was concerned. He is my toughest, if most reluctant, critic. I think he figures it’s the equivalent of being asked “do these jeans make my butt look big?”. (Not that I’ve ever asked that. I already know what my butt looks like, and I don’t need someone confirming it, thankyouverymuch.) He figures there is no right way to answer, but he is also learning as I go!
This chowder pairs salty, smoky bacon with sweet corn and earthy potatoes. The smoked Gouda added at the end is completely optional, but oh-so-delicious!
The table isn’t dirty. Really. It’s an old porcelain top on the table my great-grandmother made.
5 russet potatoes, diced (skin on or off, your preference)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups chicken stock or corn stock, or a mix of both
4 cups corn kernels (about 6 ears) (frozen kernels, thawed, can be used)
2 cups half and half*
salt and pepper, to taste
smoked Gouda, shredded (optional)
In a large stockpot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until bacon is done to desired crispness**. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, reserve.
In the bacon fat, cook potatoes for about 5 minutes, scraping the nummy bits from the bottom of the stockpot. Add garlic, stir and cook another 3 minutes or so, still scraping bottom of stockpot.
Add flour and thyme, stir to coat all the potatoes. Add stock, again scraping bottom of the stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, using your stove’s lowest heat setting. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, but not completely soft.
With a slotted spoon, remove about 1/2 to 2/3 of the potatoes (depending on how many pieces you want to bite into in your chowder), and reserve. Add 2 cups of the corn kernels to the stockpot. With an immersion blender, blend until smooth. (You can also use a regular blender, blending the mixture in batches. If you do this, add the mixture back to your stockpot before moving on to the next step.)
Slowly add the half and half, stirring until incorporated.
Add the reserved potatoes, the rest of the corn kernels, and the bacon (reserve some crisp bacon for garnish, if desired). Stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls, garnishing with some shredded Gouda and/or crisp bacon, if desired.
*If you want to cut some calories, you can substitute milk, or even evaporated milk in equal amounts for the half and half. If you want to make it decadent, you can substitute heavy cream. Go ahead, I won’t tell.
**I only cook the bacon until a bunch of the fat is rendered out, and the bacon is still chewy; that’s how we like the texture of our bacon in soups. Sometimes I continue to cook a little of the bacon until crisp to use as a garnish.