I'm not going to lie. This really is the best corn chowder I've ever had. I had lunch with my friend Catherine last week and ordered a cheddar corn chowder and mine wins, hands down. Not that I'm bragging or anything. It's just that good.
We're big soup eaters around here. Callum has loved soup since he was a little little one. Our go-to lunch from when he was wee was generally soup and a quesadilla. Haven't added the quesadilla in awhile, maybe it's time. Back when Callum was so young, I relied on canned soups, I have to admit. It's just the way we rolled back then. We're still known to pull back the lid on a can of soup now and then, but when I make soup for me and Neel to share for our weekday lunches, there's really not much better. We were not incredibly inclined to share this go-around.
Bacon Corn Chowder, adapted from Cooking Light
6 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bag frozen corn, thawed (I used Trader Joes Roasted Corn, and I think it was one of the keys to the success of this dish)
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large Dutch oven on medium to high heat, add bacon and cook for roughly four minutes until it browns. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onion and celery to pan and sauté until soft, five minutes. Add garlic and sauté for a minute more. Deglaze pan with sherry. (Another key to the success of the dish, if you ask me. Just sayin'.) Add corn and stir until combined and warm, and then add the broth. Bring to a boil and cook for four minutes.
Put two cups of mixture in a blender (keep lid slightly vented so you don't have corn soup on the ceiling!) and blend until smooth. Return blended portion of soup to Dutch oven and stir to combine. Add half and half and additional sherry (as well as salt and pepper) to taste.
Note: The orginal Cooking Light recipe calls for cooking shrimp in the soup, and I think some sautéd shrimp would be great as a garnish. Too cumbersome for us for weekdays, but you can betcha we'll be trying that some evening.