There are moments in the kitchen when you remember why you love to cook so much. That flash of personal genius that leads to the creation of something really great. A perfect moment of synergy when you find a way to combine your favorite ingredients into one sublime dish. This Corn and Blue Cheese Chowder, begun and ended with smoky, crispy bacon represents that moment for me. It’s nothing overly fancy, and surprisingly easy to prepare, but it is truly a big bowl of my favorite things.
Corn and Blue Cheese Chowder
This soup can be made one day ahead and refrigerated tightly covered. Gently reheat before serving, adding additional half and half if necessary.
6 strips bacon
½ cup chopped onion (from 1 small or ½ a large onion)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 baking potatoes, peeled
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) bag cups frozen corn kernels
1 cup half and half
5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled, plus more for topping
In a Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté bacon over medium heat until crisp and remove to paper towels to drain. Drain and reserve the bacon drippings and carefully wipe out the pan with a damp paper towel to remove any burned or dark brown bits. This will prevent the final color of the soup from being muddy. Pour about 4 Tablespoons of bacon dripping back into the pot, enough to coat the bottom. Add onions to drippings in pot and sauté until soft and turning golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute.
Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into small cubes, remembering that this will be eaten with a spoon, so they should not be too big. Add the potato cubes to the pot and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Sauté for two minutes, stirring frequently, then pour in chicken broth. Add the corn and simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the half and half, stirring to combine. When the soup is heated through, add the bleu cheese a handful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Season to taste with salt.
Serve topped with crumbled bacon and additional blue cheese.