May 12, 2009

Cheese and bacon are always good

A few months ago, V made the most delicious corn chowder ever, and we kept saying "next time we will do this and this and this and it will be even more amazing!" I had a hankering for something rich and creamy and cheesy and delicious on a cold day last week, but we could not quite nail down the recipe that had been used before. I took a look through The Big Book of Soups & Stews, and decided to make this:

Cheddar Chicken Corn Chowder

3 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped (We used the whole pepper)
2 cloves garlic, minced (We used 3)
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 cups unpeeled cubed red potatoes (We used 3 small-medium ones)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (We used frozen, and a little more than 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (We used 2 small breast fillets, poached them in the broth and shredded them instead of cubing them)
1 cup seeded, peeled, chopped tomato (I bought a jar of diced tomatoes instead of whole, oops)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (We used white cheddar, closer to a cup)
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving 1 tablespoon drippings in Dutch oven. Make sure you don't eat all the bacon while you cook the rest of the soup. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add Stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. If you choose to poach the chicken like we did, add the chicken in at this point as well, so it will cook in the broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in Corn.

In a bowl, blend flour and milk. Stir into soup. Increase heat to medium-high and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add bacon, tomato, cheese, salt and pepper (and chicken, if you choose to cook it beforehand and add it in, as the recipe calls for originally).) Simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes longer. If it doesn't seem thick enough, you can add a dash more flour, which we did.

We ate this soup with a big loaf of rosemary bread that I found at Whole Foods which was super tasty. The soup turned out really delicious. Perfectly creamy, the bell pepper added a nice bit of crunchiness, and the tomato, though it was a little saucier than the recipe called for, was delicious. If I make this again, I will make sure and use tomato chunks instead of diced saucy tomatoes from a can. Sometimes I am just lazy and did not feel like trying to peel and de-seed a fresh tomato. I think I would like the fresh tomato addition with the cheesiness. The soup was so pretty and colorful too!



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