FINALLY, fall weather is upon us! We’ve had kind of a wonky summer up here in the Mitten – a few cooler-than-normal weekends in July and August, a lot of rain, and some weird, hotter-than-hell days where they shouldn’t have been. As an example, this past Wednesday. There is no reason in this world that Wednesday should have had a high of 95 degrees (with a heat index of about 100°), but it did, and it was kind of awful. Thankfully, the last couple days have brought some storms that have dragged in a cool front – and our high today is 61°! The temperatures are going to be in the low 40s tonight! (Maybe you think I’m nuts for being excited about that – but that is some perfect windows-open, blankets-piled-on-the-bed, my-face-is-so-cold-I-can’t-feel-it, sleeping weather.)
Anyways, the onset of chillier weather always makes me crave soup. A big bowl of soup and a Michigan football game is a perfect Saturday afternoon combination, if you ask me! In reality, I made this soup back in early August – when it should have been 100 degrees and humid, but it was 65° and pouring rain. Go figure!
This soup is nice and hearty, smoky and sweet, and delicious with some toasted, cheesy bread for dipping.
Bacon Corn Chowder
Makes 8-12 servings, depending on size
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium russet potatoes (about 2lb) cut into 1/2″ dice
8 cobs of corn (about 3 cups of kernels)
4-6 cups of whole milk
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 T cornstarch
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1.) Heat a large pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp, and remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease.
2.) Add the onion and garlic, and sweat them until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
3.) Add the corn and potatoes to the pan, along with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine everything. Pour the whole milk in, adding as much as you need to cover all the potatoes and corn (I used about 5 cups). Allow the soup to come up to a boil, and immediately reduce it to a simmer.
4.) Once the soup is simmering, whisk the cornstarch and a tablespoon of milk together in a small dish. Pour the slurry into the soup, and stir it in – this will help the soup thicken up a bit. Allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes until it’s slightly thickened, and the potatoes are cooked through.
5.) Taste the potatoes for seasoning – if a potato tastes a little bland, add more salt to taste. Add the bacon back into the pot just before serving.
Just because I like you guys, I’m going to offer you a little pro tip: check to be sure there is a shaker top on your bottle of red pepper flakes, before you shake it over the soup pot. If there’s NOT, you’re going to spend the next five minutes playing a little game called “Do You Think I Fished Enough Pepper Flakes Out Of The Soup, Or Will It Still Light Our Tongues On Fire?” And while that is certainly a way to pass some time on a rainy day, I can’t say I’d recommend it.
This soup would be a great way to kick off the fall season! It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and I think it would hold up nicely in a crock pot, if you wanted to make it for a tailgate or something similar.
You know what else is a perfect fall food? Cider Mill Donut Bread Pudding!