My favorite type of meal to have on a rainy day is soup. It’s so comforting after feeling the dampness and dreariness settling into my bones. I swear I’m going to have arthritis early like my mom. On cold days lately, I can especially feel the aches starting in my hips (either that or it’s those pesky children I gave birth to who meddled with the structure of my hips). What an old lady, right? Well, besides old age symptoms setting in— forgetfulness included, I’ll admit I feel like an 80-year-old trapped inside a 31-year-old. I’m complacent with the simplest of pleasures—drinking coffee or homemade lattes with a friend, reading a book in peace or putting together mementos to display in a creative way are my guiltiest of pleasures. Not to mention, a long hot shower to wash the stress away after a tedious day filled with a plethora of “why?” questions from my toddler. My guilty pleasures can get pretty wild! Hah! But it’s about all the craziness I can handle with two incredible but equally eager children who make me desperate for those simple guilty pleasures.
I hope you’ll enjoy this sweet and vibrant yellow soup to warm you from the inside out. This recipe makes A LOT! So if you like delicious leftovers that freeze well, this is a great recipe for a day off cooking later on. I like to pair it with a turkey cheddar and avocado panini to make it more filling at lunchtime.
When everything outside is gloomy and your mood is plummeting, this cheddar corn chowder is like a little bowl of sunshine and the bacon crumbled (not pictured—oops!) is like the rainbow shooting through the clouds into your bowl! Okay, I’ll stop with the corny comparisons . . .
CHEDDAR CORN CHOWDER
- 1 pound of bacon (see recipe note #1)
- ½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
- 6 cups of chopped yellow or red onions (4 large onions)
- ½ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 12 cups chicken stock
- 8 cups medium-diced red or golden potatoes, unpeeled (about 2 ½ pounds or 7-8 potatoes)
- 10 cups or about 3 pounds of frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 cups half-and-half (see recipe note #3)
- 2 large handfuls of cheddar cheese, grated
To cook the bacon:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a cooling rack. Place each strip of bacon side by side on top of the cooling rack. Bacon always shrinks up a lot during cooking, so it’s okay if the strips touch. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes—depending on whether or not the bacon is thick cut it might take longer than 20 minutes.
For the chowder:
In a large stockpot (I use a 12 quart stockpot) over medium-high heat, sauté the onions with butter until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the salt, black pepper, turmeric and flour and stir for about 3 minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add the chicken stock one cup at a time to ensure that the flour is able to slowly absorb the stock and result in a clump-free consistency. Add potatoes once all the stock has been poured in and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender (See recipe note #2 if you’re serving to picky children with “texture” issues). Add the corn, half-and-half and cheddar. Cook on low heat until cheese is melted—about 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon.
Note #1: This soup serves A LOT! I usually do not serve all of this soup in one sitting— even at small get-togethers there are leftovers. But if you are feeding a large crowd and anticipate little to no leftovers, go ahead and cook three pounds of bacon instead. I know I’d ever want to run out of a bacon garnish around here. Who doesn’t love a good amount of bacon?! My daughter loves to take this soup in her thermos bowl to school for lunch, so I will usually make all the bacon ahead and put the crumbled bacon into a separate small container in her lunch bag so she can add it on top right before devouring. She is defies the “cold lunch kid” label on soup days!
Note #2: If you’re serving this soup to picky children with “texture” issues, go ahead and puree the soup with an immersion blender after the potatoes have been cooked and then add the corn, half-and-half and cheddar. If nothing else, you’ll get the littles accustomed to the flavors and finally the texture after they grow up a bit.
Note #3: I always have half-and-half on hand because I add it to my coffee everyday, but if you’re in a time crunch and don’t have it on hand, simply substitute 1 (15-ounce) can of evaporated milk. It does the trick and has the same consistency and fewer calories.