For me, inspiration for new things to cook sometimes strikes in unexpected ways.
It was earlier last week that I was looking in my pantry and saw that I still had a ton of canned sweet corn that I bought from Costco. Then I thought, “Hmm, some corn chowder really sounds good right about now.” I had never made any type of chowder before, but I was feeling adventurous. I gathered up the ingredients I needed and off I went.
Bacon Potato Corn Chowder
Makes 6 – 8 servings
~ 2 tbsp olive oil
~ 1 cup chopped onion
~ 3-1/2 cups chicken broth
~ 3 cups peeled and diced potatoes
~ 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel sweet corn
~ 1 (15 oz.) can cream-style sweet corn
~ 1 (2.5 oz.) package country-style gravy mix
~ 1 cup milk
~ 1 cup half & half
~ 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
~ 4 slices of bacon, chopped
~ 1-1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce (optional)
~ Chopped scallions, for garnish
- Go ahead and peel your potatoes before rinsing them off and dicing them. I used the method of cutting each potato into half-inch disks before dicing each individual disk. Put those in a bowl filled with cold water to prevent them from browning.
- Dice up your onions (keep in mind that they’ll cook down in size while in the broth, so don’t make the dice too small). Set those aside.
- Take one or two stalks of scallions and chop those up to use as our garnish later on.
- Measure out your milk and half & half into a mixing bowl and then dissolve the gravy mix into there (I used a whisk to combine everything evenly). Put that into the fridge for when we need it later.
- Measure out your shredded cheese and throw that into a bowl. Also measure out your chicken broth and set that aside into another bowl.
- Speaking from experience, I used a 4.4-quart pot to cook everything and it was practically filled to the brim. For some comfortable working room, I’d recommend at least a 6-quart sauce pot.
- Put your olive oil into the pot and start to warm it up over medium-high heat. After it’s warmed up about three minutes, throw in your diced onions and cook those down until they are tender and translucent, about five minutes.
- Add in your chicken broth, cover the pot, and bring everything up to a boil. Once it’s gotten there, add in your potatoes, stir everything around, and then cover the pot back up. Cook this on medium-low heat for 20 – 25 minutes to get the vegetables nice and tender, while occasionally stirring the vegetables.
- While the potatoes are cooking, get a frying pan heated up to cook the bacon. The instructions on the bacon’s packaging would probably be best to follow, as the cooking times vary between the size of the cuts. However, aim to get the bacon finished cooking before the potatoes are done cooking. Once the bacon is done cooking and has cooled off, chop it up and set it off to the side.
- After time is up, add in your two cans of corn and bring it back up to a boil. Gradually add in your gravy mixture into this and stir it up. At this point, the color should resemble what you would expect of a chowder.
- Turn the heat back down to medium and then add in your shredded cheese. Stir it up until it’s fully melted.
- If you’re in for giving the chowder some heat on the back end, here’s where you’ll add in your Tabasco sauce. I used the Chipotle Tabasco sauce, and I think it really gave the chowder a nice smoky flavor in addition to elevating the heat level.
- This is the final adjustment period with regards to spices. Add in your salt and pepper to taste, although I don’t think I needed to add in all too much (there’s a chance you might need to add more salt in if you used chicken broth and canned corn that didn’t have salt).
- Pour your soup into a bowl (or a bread bowl that I got from Panera, in my case) and garnish the top with some of the chopped scallions and a pinch of the shredded cheese. If you wanted to also sprinkle some of the chopped bacon as well, that would add to the visual dimension of the color contrast.
This was fun to make, and I really think it turned out pretty well. The chowder has the right texture of what you would expect, has a hearty sweet and salty flavor, and leans more on the chunky side with the potatoes, onions, and corn. For my personal taste, I think I might up the Tabasco sauce up to 2 tbsp next time I make it just to try to draw out more of the heat level that I want to get on the back end. It’s a great chowder to enjoy both hot and cold (I tried some right out of the fridge the following day) and makes for a great starter for a meal or even as the main meal itself.