I grew up eating corn chowder and while I always liked it, I never loved it. The other day I was thinking about ways to improve the standard, basic, somewhat pedestrian corn chowder recipe. In summertime, I’d most certainly grill up cobs of fresh sweet corn and add their smoky goodness to the pot. For wintertime, I decided to try adding extra flavour via my husband’s favourite smokey garnish – bacon! While this simple chowder is certainly tasty on its own, the addition of lardons of double-smoked bacon, fresh cilantro and lime juice take it from delicious to dazzling. You can easily make it up to three days before serving; just be sure to reheat it gently without boiling.
- ¼ cup (60 mL) butter
- ½ cup (125 mL) diced onion
- 1 cup (250 mL) diced celery
- 1 cup (250 mL) diced carrots
- 1.5 cups (375 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups (500 mL) diced potatoes (1/2 inch or 1.25 cm cubes)
- 1 can (14 oz / 414 mL) creamed corn
- 1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn niblets
- ½ cup (125 mL) milk
- ½ cup (125 mL) 10% cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices double smoked bacon
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add celery and carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
- While vegetables are cooking, dice bacon and put in a medium skillet. Cook over medium to medium-low heat until crispy; 10 – 15 minutes. When cooked, drain bacon lardons on paper towel and set aside.
- When onions, carrots and celery are tender, add chicken stock and diced potato to the soup pot. Stir and increase heat so it comes to a gentle boil.
- Cover pot; reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes, until potatoes are just tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
- When potatoes are just tender, add canned and frozen corn. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add milk and cream and heat the chowder until it is just about to come to a boil (do not let it boil). Reduce heat to minimum; taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- To serve, ladle hot chowder into warmed bowls. Garnish with bacon and cilantro. Serve each bowl with a wedge of lime, to be squeezed over top.