Thursday, October 13, 2011

Smoky Corn Chowder

The signs of fall are everywhere. Pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks, the trees in my yard have begun to change colors and shed their leaves, the farmers market is abound with pumpkins, and there is just a hint of a chill in the air. The cool weather of fall is the perfect time to make this corn chowder. The original recipe calls for frozen corn but I wanted to take advantage of all the local sweet corn that is still available. This soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Smoky Corn Chowder
recipe slightly adapted from Real Simple

8 ounces bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 to 3 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (4-5 ears of corn) 
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup half-and-half
kosher salt and black pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, and red pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the corn, broth, and half-and-half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Divide the soup among bowls and top with the scallions and bacon.