Serves: Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 3 thick strips bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups chicken stock, top-quality chicken broth or vegetable stock.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 5 to 6 ears)
- 1 yellow and 1 red bell pepper, roasted, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Procedures:This recipe produces a light chowder that is a wonderful way to highlight summer’s fresh sweet corn. You can use frozen corn off-season, but the flavor will be quite different, lacking the gentle sweetness of fresh seasonal corn. If you prefer a spicy version, add 1/4 cup or so of chopped canned green chiles and/or use pepper bacon in place of the regular bacon. And if that touch of chowder richness is what you love, use cream or half-and-half instead of the milk I call for.
- Fry the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the potatoes, onion, and celery to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the water and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
- Add the bacon, corn, roasted bell peppers, milk, and parsley to the chowder and simmer gently for 5 to 7 minutes, just until heated through; do not allow the chowder to boil. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt to taste