Digging out the last Thanksgiving leftover from the plastic container at the back of the fridge, I must admit I’m done with making big meals for a few weeks (and with turkey!). Once I’ve had my fill of turkey sandwiches, followed by turkey nachos, and of course a day of pumpkin pie for breakfast, I crave different flavors and meals that require minimal cleanup (not like the mountain of dishes I went through on 11/27 and we were only taking a few side dishes to my brother’s house, not doing the whole shabang).
For easy meals that make the whole house smell good and warm me up I like to make a big pot of soup. Sorry, I mean chowder. See, if I tell my family we’re having soup they think it’s an appetizer—not the entree. But if I say we’re having “chowder,” then it makes for a meal.
Usually, when I’m making a soup (did I say soup? I mean chowder…or stew), I break out the crockpot. But for this particular recipe, cook it over the stovetop using one pot. Sometimes to make sure the potatoes get tender, I’ll use a couple pans, but I promise it’s easy cleanup.
Another added plus with chowders: your ingredients don’t have to be exact and neither do the cooking times. You’ll notice that I do offer both here, but if you have some extra chicken or diced, cooked carrots on hand, throw ‘em in!
So if you’re looking for a simple meal with all the comfort food favorites—like potatoes, bacon and corn—you’ll love this creamy combo. Don’t forget to make some warm muffins or toast bread to go along with your chowder.
Here’s the recipe:
Creamy Potato-Bacon Chowder
Ingredients: 6-8 slices of bacon 4 medium-sized potatoes (I prefer red ones, but any variety will do) 1 medium onion 1 ½ cups milk (or more if you want the chowder thinner) 1 can cream of chicken soup (or mushroom) 1 can of corn ¾ cup sour cream Salt and pepper to taste Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Directions: In the original recipe, you fry the raw, diced potatoes in the bacon until they become tender. After years of trying, I’ve never found that the potatoes get soft enough so I add another step. Trust me, it’s worth one additional easy-to-clean pan. I’ve streamlined this recipe so that start to finish your meal should be ready in about 30 minutes.
First, add a medium-sized pot of salted water to the stovetop. Peel and dice your potatoes until they’re about the size of a kernel of corn. If you can’t get them that small, don’t worry, just remember that it will take more time for them to cook in the boiling water. The smaller the potato the faster they’ll cook. I boil the potatoes until they’re tender when pierced with a fork.
While your potatoes are boiling, dice the onion and cut the bacon into 1/4 –inch strips. I usually just cut them with my kitchen scissors. Once your potatoes are halfway cooked (in the other pan), add bacon to a large, heavy bottomed pan. Cook the bacon until almost crisp, then add your onions. Keep your eye on the potatoes; drain them once they’re tender. With the bacon cooked through and the onions sautéed until they’re translucent, you’re ready to add the potatoes. Cook those as you would hash browns--stirring frequently and allowing the sides to brown. Add salt and pepper as you sauté the potatoes.
Add the milk and cream soup to the bacon-potato mixture. Bring to a gentle boil and stir. Drain the corn and then toss it in. Reduce the heat and bring the chowder to a slow simmer. Stir in the sour cream. That’s it! I like to top each serving with shredded cheese. Also, you can make this chowder a day ahead—it reheats beautifully.