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A New Year's Lunch

Cheddar Corn Chowder
The recipes and text are from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten. Excerpted by permission from Clarkson N. Potter Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. 1999
Photographs by Melanie Acevedo

This hearty soup tastes more like a stew. Fresh corn is sweetest in August and September, but since I love this soup all winter, I've been known to cheat and use frozen corn. The flavor is not exactly the same, but it is still a great lunch. This is one of the most popular soups we make in the store.

Note: Unpeeled potatoes are easier to use and give this soup an earthy flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
  • 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
Method:
In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cobs and blanch the kernels for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn, you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, and then add the half-and-half and Cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.


...Published: December 2004

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