Corn & Bacon Chowder might be the perfect soup to transition from summer to fall.
Perfect because late season corn on the cob is still available in the stores and farmer’s markets. Also perfect because even though it isn’t vegetarian (hello, bacon!) being vegetable based makes this a bit lighter than the hearty soups of winter.
And for those of us who don’t really transition from summer to anything other than more summer, it’s a good soup to help us not feel left out of autumn weather, sweaters, and crisp leaves.
The fact that it is quick and easy to put together makes it perfect for weeknights or busy weekend dinners.
Here’s what you need:
Corn, Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Onion, Garlic, Bacon, Chicken Broth, Heavy Cream, Hot Sauce (I recommend Chipotle Tabasco), Salt & Pepper.
Sorry vegetarians, but bacon really makes this soup special.
Cut 5 strips of bacon into small pieces and cook them over medium heat in your soup pot. You want a gentle heat (not too hot) so that the fat renders from the bacon before it begins to get crisp and golden brown.
While the bacon cooks, chop up 1 large onion (about 2 cups), 4-5 carrots (about 1 cup), 2 ribs of celery, and 2 cloves of garlic.
Peel and dice 3 Yukon gold potatoes.
Remove the husks and silks from 5-6 ears of corn and slice the kernels off the cob.
Remember our super fancy corn removal tip? Invert a small bowl inside a large mixing bowl and cut the corn on it to keep the kernels from flying all over your kitchen.
I love white corn but sometimes like to use a combination so you get the full color and flavors of white and yellow varieties. Use whatever you can get that is the best and freshest. You can also make this with frozen corn. You’ll need at least 2 cups of corn kernels.
Check back in on the bacon. When it is crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the grease in the pan. Place the bacon on a paper towel lined plate and try not to eat all of it before your soup is finished.
Put the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the pot with the bacon grease and sauté until tender but not browned, about 8 minutes.
After the onions have had a head start, add the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Bring the soup to a boil, the reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
When the veggies (especially the potatoes) are tender, use an immersion blender (or traditional blender or food processor) to blend the soup until it is mostly smooth.
I like a few chunks remaining in my soup so that the vegetable bits are recognizable.
Remember if you are using a standard blender, work in small batches and keep a firm hand covered in a towel on the lid. Hot liquid expands in the blender. You only have to learn that lesson once.
Return your blended soup to low heat and add ½ cup of heavy cream. Season to taste with salt & pepper – I used about 1 teaspoon of each.
For just a little extra flavor and kick, I added a few drops of Chipotle Tabasco to my soup. The chipotle gives it a nice smoky flavor and just a little heat. You can also serve the tabasco or hot sauce on the side for those who like things a little spicier.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the crispy bacon.
The only thing I would do differently next time is use just a bit more corn – maybe 8 ears or 3 cups for extra corny goodness.
This light flavorful soup really sets the stage for fall. Take advantage of all the vegetables you can while they are abundant and fresh!
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Williams Sonoma One Pot of the Day