It has been relentlessly and unusually cold, snowy and icy around here of late (yeah, I know, welcome to Winter 2015 in the US). Since I had some Yukon Golds in the pantry and some Neuske’s pepper crusted bacon and smoked cheddar in the fridge, I thought it would be a good time for a pot of smoky, creamy, potato-y goodness. Corn and Potato Chowder is a regular dish around here, but last nite I fiddled A LOT with my usual recipe, and holy smokes (no pun intended), this was bestest ever! The man of the house grunted like a blissed-out caveman thru his entire bowl – a sure sign of culinary success. Enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp bacon drippings
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 whole cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
- ½ tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. fine herbs
- ¼ cup dry white Vermouth (see notes)
- 2 cups chicken broth (see notes)
- 3 cups Yukon gold potatoes in ½” cubes
- 2 cups frozen corn
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded
- chopped, cooked bacon & shredded smoked cheddar for serving (see notes)
In a 4 qt Dutch oven sautee onions & whole garlic cloves in bacon drippings until onions are translucent. Add carrots and sauté 5 minutes. Add herbs; sauté 1 minute. Add vermouth, scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot and boil till liquid is almost gone. Add chicken broth and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add corn and simmer 10 more minutes. Remove garlic cloves. In a 2 cup glass measuring cup whisk flour into milk & half-half; pour into soup. Gently boil for a few minutes to thicken chowder and make sure flour is completely cooked. Taste chowder and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat, add extra sharp cheddar and stir till melted. Serve with grated smoked cheddar & chopped bacon on top of each serving. Makes 2 quarts.
Notes: (1) For chicken (and beef and veggie!) broth I love the Better Than Bouillon products. They are sooooo much more convenient than keeping cans or boxes of broth on hand, and the flavor is almost as good as my fave brand of canned (Swanson Low Sodium) (2) Neuskes bacon is seriously the best you can buy, and well worth the expense and bother of mail ordering bacon. It will last, unopened, for up to a year in the freezer. When I open a pack, I cook all of it at once. What we are going to eat right then I cook all the way thru; bacon that will be leftover I take off a few minutes shy of done. I store the leftovers for up to a week in the fridge and pop them in a skillet for a quick finish whenever I need them. (3) I actually don’t care much for the smoked cheeses we got from Neuskes. They are, to my taste, WAY too smoky – as in, I can’t taste anything but smoke. A typical smoked Gouda that you can find in the supermarket won’t be that overpowering. I am going to look for another source of smoked cheddar, because it really is the bomb on baked potatoes, mac and cheese, etc.