I have had two versions of this soup on my list to try for a long time, but something was holding me back. Bacon.
Both versions – Ina Garten’s recipe and Gourmet’s recipe – both start by frying bacon, then making the soup with the bacon fat and garnishing with the bacon.
I think you know where I am going with this. Yes, I busted out the Bacon Salt, again.
The recipes are very similar except for the seasoning, and I went a different way from either of them on that point. I wasn’t interested in using either cumin or turmeric, so I used Old Bay seasoning in addition to the bacon salt. If you don’t have Old Bay, I would probably use a mix of bay leaves, celery salt, dry mustard, black pepper, cumin, or paprika. Smoked paprika would be a good substitute for Bacon Salt, or, you know, just use real bacon if you aren’t vegetarian. Between the Old Bay and the “Peppered” Bacon Salt, I didn’t need to add any additional black pepper, but you might have to if you substitute. I also had to add salt, which you probably wouldn’t need to if you used real bacon.
Before adding the cream and corn
I finished this recipe in just about an hour, so it barely clocks in as a “quick” vegetarian dinner, and I can’t think of any way to prepare part of it ahead of time. It does reheat well, though. And it is very thick and delicious. Mike and I both agreed to make it a “keeper.”
Corn and Cheddar Chowder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning blend
2 teaspoons Bacon Salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable broth
2 large boiling potatoes (about 1-1/2 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream (we used half and half and it was plenty creamy)
10 oz. frozen corn kernels
1/2 lb. sharp Cheddar, grated
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4-5 scallions, sliced, for garnish
Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add Old Bay and Bacon Salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Add potato and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 16-18 minutes. Add salt. Stir in cream and corn and return to a simmer. Add Cheddar, stirring just until cheese is melted (do not let boil), and correct seasonings. If necessary, add black pepper. Top with sliced scallions.