Chowda

So a couple things happened this week. Okay more than a couple but for the sake of this post, a couple.  First, I decided that I needed to give it a go at giving up the ‘white stuff’ — that would be sugar, flour…oh gonna be seriously hard to walk by the Bennisons stand at the multiple farmer’s markets they appear at, and all the other baked goods artisans (hello Zullo’s I’m talking to you) stands for that matter. Really not sure what I am thinking. Attempting to rebalance hormones or something. Don’t ask…

Second, made a Costco run, and for anyone that has gone to Costco you know all about the samples.  The one I could not pass up? The bacon. Oh. My. Heck. When was the last time I had bacon, and why had it been so long?!?  Especially during tomato season – sheesh, have not had one BLT yet. That is a problem. Needing to rectify that issue, the mambo 3 lb pack of bacon (why is everything so supersized at Costco?) into the cart. Said bacon is nitrate and hormone-free so feeling so virtuous about eating it already, so there.

No ‘white stuff’ and more bacon. And clearly a serious stray from the farmer’s markets if I found myself in the mother of all ‘big-boxes’. Reel it in. Woosh, I am back, and can I tell ya the sweet corn has been not only abundant this year but better than, in all my corn eating years, I can remember. Sweet yeah, but I have never oh’ed and ah’ed about the texture like I have this year.  Is it me, or has anyone else noticed the amazing texture of maize this year? No picking it out of your teeth this season.

Having had corn on the cob almost daily since it showed up at the markets, and since there since a bit more of a nip in the air, think it’s time for a corn chowder. There are so many variations on corn chowder: with/without potatoes, flour or gluten-free, vegetarian or in this case another guise for the bacon. Hello stovetop, it’s been awhile.

Corn Chowder My Way (at least for this week)
3-4 ears of corn
4 slices of bacon
1 good sized sweet potato (yep, they are rolling into the markets, yay!), diced
3 small potatoes (went with yukon golds), diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4-5 cups corn stock (yep, save those cobs) or  chicken broth, or a combo of both
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
cracked black pepper, to taste

Shuck corn from the cobs. Throw cobs (this is a worthwhile step as this is where all the flavor is) into a pot of water and cook away — there’s your stock baby. Both these steps can be done ahead of time, like earlier in the day or even the day before.
In a large soup pot fry up the bacon until it is nice and crispy.  Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside. Pour off all of about 1 tablespoon (ok maybe I used 2T) of bacon grease.  Add potatoes, corns, celery, pepper and garlic to the pot.  Cook veg until somewhat tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the stock and simmer for about 25 minutes, veg should be nice and tender by then.
Remove from heat. If you have a ‘boat motor’ (aka handheld blender) go head and give it a whirl thru the pot.  No handheld? Use a regular blender.  Return to stove top and add black pepper and paprika.
Serve in individual bowls garnished with crumbled bacon and if you have any left in the garden, a snip of fresh chives.

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