Cheesy and Corny...

I'm not sure what the weather is doing this week, but I can only hope that summer is having its last hurrah, and will soon become a pleasant memory. Because, seriously, 90 degree days are too hot for the month of September! After last weekend's shopping trip with Mom, I have new fall clothes that are beckoning to me from the closet, begging to be worn. However, this interlude of Indian summer has not been enough to dissuade me from eating as if there is already a chill in the air.

I found this recipe for corn chowder a couple years back when I was hosting a Halloween-themed soup buffet dinner party for a few friends. I had also prepared lentil soup and Cincinnati-style chili, but I wanted to have a third option for my guests. I've always liked corn chowder, and did a search on the Food Network website for a recipe. I found one from Ina Garten that I thought looked appetizing, and had had good results with her recipes in the past, so I decided to give it a go. I also have a bit of a soft-spot for Ina because she could be my mom's doppelganger. If you don't believe me, just do a Google image search.

This chowder was a huge success at the party, although Ina's original recipe made a truly preposterous amount of soup. I sent home leftovers with every single guest who would have them, and I still ended up throwing some of it away because I couldn't eat it all in time, and cream-based soups cannot be frozen. Nevertheless, this cheddar corn chowder went into my regular recipe rotation, albeit it in one-third of its original form. If you're looking for a hearty fall meal, I highly recommend this soup.

Cheddar Corn Chowder
adapted from Ina Garten

3-4 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/4 c. flour
scant 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
4 c. chicken stock
2/3 lb. red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb. frozen white corn
2/3 c. heavy cream or half-and-half
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add bacon, cooking until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, and crumble when cool. Set aside.
2. Reduce heat to medium, and add butter and onions to the pot, salting generously. Cook until onions are translucent, 7-10 minutes.
3. Stir in the flour, tumeric, and pepper to taste, cooking three minutes.
4. Add the stock to the pot, stirring well to incorporate the flour. Add potatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
5. Add the corn to the soup, then the cream and cheddar cheese. Cook for 5 additional minutes until cheese is melted. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve with a garnish of crumbled bacon.

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