Tuesday, March 17, 2015
I think it's the bacon that makes this chowder Southern. If you eliminate the corn and add steamed clams along with the broth, you would have traditional New England clam chowder.
8 slices bacon, diced
2 T unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed & chopped (optional)
1 t fresh thyme or ½ t dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 qt) chicken stock or broth
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
4 ears corn, kernels removed or 3 cups frozen corn, thawed and drained
¼ t cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
Paprika and diced bacon, for garnish
In a Dutch oven, fry bacon over medium heat until golden brown and crisp.
Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined dish.
Discard most of the bacon fat and add butter and let melt over medium heat.
Add the onion, celery, jalapeno, and thyme.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and slowly cook for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook another minute.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, add potatoes, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add corn and cayenne and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Add milk or half-and-half and simmer until chowder is hot.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the reserved bacon pieces and a sprinkling of paprika.