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Spicy Corn Chowder

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 117

Bacon makes this creamy dish—with just the right amount of heat—the ultimate summer comfort food. Don’t substitute frozen corn here; the flavor of this quick chowder depends on freshly cut kernels.

  • 1/2 lb. thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon (6 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 5 cups fresh corn kernels (from 10 medium cobs)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure chipotle chile powder
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
  • Kosher salt
  • Grated white Cheddar, for garnish (optional)

Cook the bacon in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off and discard all but 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat.

Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add the onion, half of the scallions, the celery, bell pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chipotle powder and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the half-and-half and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the grated potato, lower the heat to medium, and cook, covered, until the potato is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to 4 large soup bowls. Garnish with the reserved bacon and scallions, and the cheese, if using, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 500; Fat (g): fat g 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 10; Protein (g): protein g 19; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 69; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 570; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 60; Fiber (g): fiber g 8;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Love the consistency of this chowder. I added a jalapeño pepper and used paprika, cayenne, and chili powders instead of chipotle. Definitely spicy!

Quick and easy to make. Delish! Even better the day after.

I made this last night for my family's weekly 'soup night' and everyone agreed it was spectacular! There were six of us, so I upped the ingredients to 1-1/2 what was called for, which produced enough soup for at least another two servings. I skipped the cheese, and added the bacon into the soup when I added the potatoes, figuring that the extra smokiness couldn't hurt. Will definitely make it again!

I loved this soup. I "milked" the corn cobs and added the "milk" with the corn kernels. The chipotle chile powder really makes this soup stand apart from others.

Creamy and rich tasting (for a quick chowder). Garnishing with bacon/scallions and Chedder cheese adds great flavors and texture. And, of course, freshly cut corn kernels is key to great taste.

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