CREAMY CORN CHOWDER, WITH OR WITHOUT BACON

by Oct 14, 2020

CORN CHOWDER

If you are longing for a creamy, sumptuous chowder, this is it! It is certainly my son’s favorite soup. In fact, I received a text message from him about a week ago, “I am craving corn chowder!” Not exactly a subtle hint…

Many years ago, because we had so many good cooks and lots of interest in new recipes, our school developed a cookbook of favorite recipes as a fundraiser.  This soup was one of the recipes I submitted because it is easy to make, quick cooking, and absolutely satisfying, especially on chilly days.

Of course, this was in the days before computers with automatic editing and spell checking. I submitted another recipe of mine – a favorite appetizer made with tuna. I still smile when I pull out the old cookbook and see my melodious recipe for “Versatile Tune Dip”.

The original chowder had bits of crumbled bacon, and sautéed onions, but because I now have a vegetarian grandson in addition to a son who cannot handle onions, I serve the onions and bacon separately when I make it for them.  I let the creamy potato and corn base cook on its own until flavors blend and meld together.  When the potatoes simmer in the water, they add starch that flavors and thickens the soup, so I use russets or all-purpose potatoes.  Click on this link for Types of Potatoes and When to Use Them if you are interested in more information about types of potatoes and when to use them.

 While the creamy portion simmers, I sauté onions, fry some bacon, and serve them as toppings so family members can add what they like to the base and everyone is happy.

Having said that though, I really should confess that I think this Corn Chowder tastes best when all the ingredients have a chance to build upon each other to provide more flavor.  When I tried to rewrite the recipe incorporating both options throughout, I found myself going bonkers while trying to sort out the directions: “If you want to keep things separate, then… or If you want to make the original, do this first…” As a result, there are two versions of the recipe below.  The Original Corn Chowder and The Corn Chowder with Accompaniments so you can choose.   

This soup can be quite thick and is easy to scorch due to the milk and creamy corn, so it is not a good candidate to simmer on the stove for hours. When I want this for a dinner party, or if I need to plan ahead due to crazy schedules, I make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it slowly on the stovetop, stirring regularly or pour it into a slow-cooker and set the dial to low for a few hours. It also reheats easily in the microwave, especially if you want to reheat one bowl at a time. 

You can play around with the proportions of the ingredients according to what is on hand in your kitchen and what your family likes/dislikes.  I usually use a minimum of 2 large russet potatoes, and 3 cans of creamed corn for the base, but since soups are a happy conglomeration of many ingredients, I often add or subtract quantities according to what I have on hand.

I do not salt my homemade soups, because many of them start with a flavored stock that already has plenty of sodium.  This chowder, however, can taste quite sweet from the creamed corn, so if you are not adding bacon, you should taste it and see if it needs a little salt to balance the sweetness. 

We used to float a pat of butter on top and grate fresh black pepper over each bowl full, and I still do enjoy the pepper. I don’t bother with the butter anymore but it might be a good idea to add the additional richness in the non-bacon version, if you’d like.

CORN CHOWDER, ORIGINAL VERSION

  • 1/2 – 1 Pound Bacon, regular or uncured, pork or turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 large Onion
  • 3 Medium Potatoes, peeled & diced (about 3 cups, 14-16 ounces)
  • 3 cups Water
  • 3 Cans Creamed Corn
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Cook bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside. If using turkey bacon, heat oil in pan, then add bacon and cook until crisp.

Cut onion in half, slice and separate into rounds. Add onions to drippings, and sauté till golden.  Drain off any extra fat.  Add potatoes and water to cover.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer about ten-15 minutes or until tender.  Add corn, milk, and about one-half of the bacon; stir thoroughly.  Heat through on low, stirring occasionally.

Serve with additional crumbled bacon to sprinkle on top and freshly grated pepper.

CORN CHOWDER WITH ACCOMPANIMENTS

  • 3 Medium Potatoes, peeled & diced (about 3 cups, 14-16 ounces)
  • 3 cups Water
  • 3 Cans Creamed Corn
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 large Onion
  • 1/2 – 1 Pound Bacon, regular or uncured, pork or turkey

Combine potatoes and water in large pot.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes or until tender.  When potatoes are soft, stir in corn and milk. Simmer on low heat, stirring regularly.

Cut onion in half, slice and separate into rounds. Add oil to pan and sauté onion until golden brown; remove onions and set aside until serving time.

Cook bacon in same pan until crisp; crumble and set aside. If using turkey bacon, heat oil in pan, then add bacon and cook until crisp.

Serve Corn Chowder base with sautéed onions and bacon in separate bowls to add as desired. 

Sign Up For New Recipe Notification

PAPA’S FAMOUS CHICKEN; EASY MEAL!

PAPA’S FAMOUS CHICKEN; EASY MEAL!

When I first met Allen, he was a still a student at MSU, and was working two jobs. I had just graduated from college and started my first semester of teaching in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Neither of us had much money, but I loved trying new cooking techniques and he...

“Wingless” Chicken Sandwiches in an Asian Style

“Wingless” Chicken Sandwiches in an Asian Style

We are smack dab in the middle of Michigan's roller coaster Spring weather.  Although it was a sunny, balmy 72 degrees the other day, it is now in the 40s and Michiganders know that we could still get snow between now and the end of April.  Soup and sandwiches are key...

SIMPLE STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

SIMPLE STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

Ha! I bet you didn't even know that there is a National Strawberry Day, did you? Well, there is, and it is today, February 27th. When I realized that I almost missed such an (ahem) important day, I decided I really needed to investigate further. Are there other food...

QUICK, EASY, AND SATISFYING SUPERBOWL SANDWICH

QUICK, EASY, AND SATISFYING SUPERBOWL SANDWICH

I think I have mentioned before that when Allen and I met, we realized that we often had opposite tastes in food.  He wanted beef, I wanted chicken.  Allen liked sour, I liked sweet. He loved salty snacks, but I wanted citrusy snacks. I loved brown rice, he wanted...

Leave a comment.

4 Comments

  1. Julia Jensen

    What i find interesting is no thickners (flour) – which in our home is a big plus! i’m assuming the potatoes themself along with the creamed corn do the trick. can’t wait to try this one out… thank you!

    • akcooker

      Thank you, Julia; I think you are right, the starch from the potatoes must help thicken the soup naturally without additional thickeners like cornstarch or flour. Enjoy!

  2. Jovina Coughlin

    Love corn chowder and your recipe looks delicious.

    • akcooker

      Thank you, Jovina; this is the perfect time of year for soup.