I have this almost unexplainable excitement over certain foods. Foods that remind me of that remind me of something I loved so much as a child. I mean, I guess it's not unexplainable...everybody gets those flashes of nostalgia, right? But when I hear these three words together----chicken---corn---chowder----a certain giddiness washes over me! I guess the funny thing is that it wasn't something my mom lovingly worked on whilst standing over the stove in her frilly apron, because I don't think she's ever donned a frilly apron in her life but it was something that she lovingly opened a can of and heated up on on top of the stove. Over a live flame. That was good enough for me. In my mind, when I announced to my brother and sisters and mom that I had produced Chicken Corn Chowder with my own two hands...from scratch...they would be awestruck and wistful and all hop in their cars and drive the 30 minutes to 2 hours (depending on who it was) to greedily arrive at my doorstep. Bowl and spoon in hand. In reality, two didn't answer their phones, and the other two had to be prodded to remember that this was one of OUR very favorite soups so many years ago. I mean we wanted it CONSTANTLY. Although. Once I ever-so-kindly reminded them, their voices did elevate a few notches as their memories cranked into gear. My question to them "Think back to when we were young. What kind of soup was our favorite? Which one did we always ask for? Didn't have to be homemade...but we all loved it." Well, DUH. Of course chicken noodle and tomato (although not me...I already voiced the fact that I didn't like tomato soup as a kid) and chicken w/ stars. "BUT WHAT ELSE!?" In the end it was my mom and one sis who I gushed to over my "revamped" childhood favorite. Other sis and bro are still walking around like the world didn't shake. Oblivious to my amazing feat.
Apparently this was more my obsession than theirs. Why isn't the movie in my head broadcast to the four corners!? Sheesh.
Chicken Corn Chowder
yield: ~1 gallon
½ lb. bacon, cut into ½" strips, the short way1½ lb. chicken breast, 1" dice
1 large onion (~¾ c.), small dice
2 stalks celery (~½ c.), small dice
1 med. red bell pepper (~¾ c.), small dice
~12 oz. small red potatoes, ~ "½ dice
leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tbs. flour
2 lb. fresh or frozen corn, divided
3 c. chicken stock/broth (+ a little more, as needed)
3 c. half & half
freshly ground black pepper, ~1 Tbs.
sea salt, as needed
Begin by placing the bacon in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat. Cook until it has rendered its fat and is just finished cooking. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving bacon grease in pot. Increase heat to med-high and add chicken to pot. Cook until pink has disappeared all around. Add onions, celery, red peppers, and potatoes to pot. Continue to cook for ~5 minutes, stirring everything around from time to time. When the vegetables have just begun to soften, add in the thyme and sprinkle in the flour, stirring until it has disappeared. Purée half of the corn w/ a bit of the stock. Add it to the pot. Cook for another minute or two. Gradually stir in the remaining corn, stock and the half & half. Season with black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer very gently for ~20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking...remember there's dairy in there! Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. All bacon will vary on its salt content, so it's really up to you on how much salt you want to add.
To serve, ladle into bowls and divide the reserved bacon among them. (I don't like to mix the bacon right into the soup, because it turns all floppy again.) This way you can stir it in just before eating. It's also great with some sharp cheddar cheese shredded over the top and some fresh parsley or chives over the top at the last minute.
Go ahead. Grab a big bowl of nostalgia. There's nothing quite as sweet.I am sharing this post with: