This recipe is the soup of my life. This soup is the end of an afternoon of leaf-raking, it is the welcome back after sledding, it is families at our house for potluck suppers. I watched my grandmother ladle it from her giant soup pot, I watched my mother spoon it into bowls.
It is comfort food at its best. Rich, creamy, and decidedly not recommended by Weight Watchers. But it will feed your spirit as well as it feeds your belly, and it will garner all kinds of mmmhmm! from the people gathered around your table.
Now. My entire non-bacon eating childhood, I ate this soup made with Bac-O Chips. Yes, the soy-laden, sodium bombs sold in a handy plastic jar. What did I know what I was missing? So whilst I am a bacon lover of the first order, I'll tell you that this soup is delish with those Bac-Os, and just Off. The. HOOK. when made with real bacon. You decide.
So: Grandma Joan's Corn and Cheese Chowder
2/3 C Bac-O chips
1/2 C butter (yep, that's a whole stick)
1/2 C onion, finely diced
1/4 C flour
*** melt the butter in large pot until foaming, then cook 2 minutes at a low heat. I add the flour after the butter, Bac-Os and onions have had their time in the sun, so to speak. If you use real bacon, you could use the rendered fat from the bacon in place of some of the butter. Make sure you saute the bacon until nice & crisp, but not crunchy.
4 C Water
2 C Potatoes, diced small
1/2 tsp dried sage (I use fresh, as it still sort of survives out in my garden, but dried is ok)
2 large bay leaves
*** add these, cover, cook 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
2 C cream, evaporated milk, or half & half
2 C boiling water
2 C grated cheddar (I use orange cheddar, to add color, but a well aged sharp cheddar is most delish)
4 C corn (if frozen, you don't have to defrost. Frozen from the farmer's market = heaven.)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
***Add these ingredients, heat just to a boil
The very most important thing to remember here is, once you've added that last batch of ingredients, do not let the soup boil. Really, I'm not kidding here. It curdles and gets remarkably gross, very quickly.
That's it. Pretty simple, pretty humble. But sooooo delicious. As always, the better quality ingredients, the better the soup will be. It is perfect with a crusty wholegrain bread, a huge green salad, and maybe some fruit for dessert.
Soup. Does the body good.