Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Corn and Cheddar Chowder

I really like soup, especially thick, hearty, artery clogging filling soups on cold days.  In the summer I enjoy lighter, broth-based soups that are loaded with vegetables, but a nice bowl of Roasted Potato and Leek Soup or Chili can really serve as a full meal on a cold winter day.  Add a grilled cheese on sourdough and I'm in heaven.

My husband has to drive through rural Southeastern Pennsylvania for his commute, so he passes tons of roadside stands with fresh produce.  In the summer he often brings home fresh sweet corn.  This year my mom blanched and froze some of this corn, so we have plenty to enjoy during the winter months.  Of course, if you didn't go through the trouble of preserving your own corn this summer you can always hit up the frozen food section of your local grocery store.  Or, if you're making this soup in the summer, get that corn fresh off the cob!  There's nothing like it.

As much as I enjoy hearty soups, I try to lighten the recipe in a way that won't compromise the taste.  Whenever a soup calls for half and half (or heavy cream) I like to try to substitute 1% milk for at least half of the dairy.  Sometimes the texture isn't as thick, but since I end up reheating soup for lunch it thickens up in the fridge.  I also always choose very flavorful cheeses like sharp white cheddar or Parmesan so I can use less cheese and get a big punch of flavor.  I also take the opportunity to load my soups up with vegetables like peppers, onions and corn for a chunkier consistency and a larger serving of vegetables.  Of course, with all that said, I've been known to brown my vegetables in bacon fat to create the base for my soups.  You don't need to go there, but I think a tablespoon of bacon fat really gives you that nice, smoky flavor.  If you decide to do so, you can cook your bacon in the morning for breakfast and store the rendered fat in a covered container in your refrigerator.  Or, you can just use vegetable oil like a normal person.

This soup starts with browning your chopped onions and peppers in oil (or bacon fat)...

Then stir in corn and chopped bacon...

Stir in some flour...

Then stir in milk (and/or cream)...

Finally, you add your cheese and you're ready to eat.  (I use Cabot Sharp White Cheddar... it's my favorite!)

I added some extra bacon on top and I served it with Rosemary Bread.  It was heavenly.  This bread also makes a fantastic grilled cheese.  Your tummy will be full and warm and you won't mind that it's 30 degrees outside.

I believe this soup rivals anything you'd enjoy in a restaurant and if you make it at home you'll have at least six servings.  For us, that's one dinner and two lunches.  Packing lunch = more money to spend on (or save for) fun stuff.

December has been a busy month, but I do have a few more recipes to share before Christmas.  I also have a very good giveaway coming up before the holiday.  Stay tuned!  Hint: It's baking-related.

Corn and Cheddar Chowder
adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman

6 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
4 cups of fresh corn (off the cob) or frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup flour
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cups half and half (or milk, or a mixture)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat. Remove bacon, but keep the drippings in the pot.  Drain the bacon and chop it into small pieces.  Cook onions for a couple of minutes in the bacon fat. Add half of the bacon and cook for another minute or so, then add diced peppers and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally, add corn and cook for a minute (for fresh corn) or up to 10 minutes (for frozen corn).

Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in broth and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Stir in half-and-half or milk, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so.

Stir in cheeses. When cheese is melted and the soup is hot, check seasonings. Add salt and pepper as needed.


  1. Keeley this recipes sounds like tonights dinner! Thanks for sharing

  2. This sounds yummy! I love making soups in the winter. My hubby isn't a huge fan, but I just pack the freezer and I've got soup whenever I want. You are not alone - I also saute my veggies in bacon fat. You can't beat that flavor.

  3. My family would love this chowder and I haven't made rosemary bread for a long time. I'll make this soon!

  4. Found your blog through TDJ and I love it!

  5. Keeley, you KNOW I'm all about using bacon fat whenever possible. It's the best browning fat ever, because of it's high smoke point and because well it's bacon fat! Now I'm not keen on soups either, but on a cold day, I know I would enjoy this. Pinning!


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