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Pantry Corn Chowder

July 29, 2011

I love this hearty chowder as a last-minute dinner since it’s made with staple ingredients that are usually in our pantry and freezer, and it only takes about a half hour from start to finish. Pair it with a green salad full of veggies and it’s a perfect light supper for two! As a main dish soup, the recipe only makes enough for two people as it’s from one of the Cook’s Illustrated Cooking for Two annual cookbooks (though I can’t remember which year – I’ve had the recipe for a while so I’m guessing 2009), but if served it as an accompaniment to the main course, there is usually at least one serving left over.

A couple notes: If you don’t have a food processor, a blender would work just as well to puree the corn and milk in the first step. I often forget to thaw the corn ahead of time, but it can easily be thawed in the microwave in a just a few minutes. Using the bacon fat to cook the onion rather than discarding it and using vegetable or olive oil adds delicious smoky flavor, and since it’s only 3 slices of bacon, it’s not really a large amount of fat. Make sure you cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and no larger, or you will have to increase the simmering time accordingly to ensure they are cooked the whole way through.

Pantry corn chowder

Serves 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 1  pound frozen corn, thawed
  • 3/4  cup whole milk
  • 3  slices bacon, minced
  • 1  small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • Salt
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8  teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1 3/4  cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8  ounces red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Process half of the corn with the milk in a food processor until smooth; set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Add the onion and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the pureed corn, broth, potatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining corn; return to a simmer and cook until the corn is warmed through and the potatoes are tender, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the reserved bacon and serve.

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