Now that it’s September, I can legitimately post a soup recipe and not feel like a “season jumper”. Summer is for summer things, fall is for fall things and so on and so on. I just can’t (and won’t) get excited about Halloween in August or about Christmas in September. I almost lost my mind when I noticed the movie Elf was on television this weekend AND I got a Christmas catalog in the mail. I died a little inside.
So soup. Probably one of my most favorite things to make in the cooler months. I could eat soup for days. And I generally do, because it takes one person a LOOONG time to consume a giant stockpot of soup!
This Chipotle Corn Chowder is the perfect “first soup of the season” because it’s hearty and filling, but still rocking some serious summer flare because it’s loaded to the brim with fresh, sweet, tender corn. This is transition soup. It’s how we gracefully go from one season to the next.
Kind of like how I’m rocking flip flops and tank tops, but with a cute scarf and blazer. Does that make sense?
I added some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to give this soup a nice smoky undertone and a little heat. And oh my gosh, I’m dying over the topping! I coated and toasted some cornbread cubes in the reserved bacon fat, then combined them with the cooked bacon for a heavenly crumble that is perfectly fitting for a corn chowder.
You could certainly make your own cornbread here (either from scratch or from a box mix), but sometimes when I’m feeling lazy I like to just grab a couple muffins from the bakery and cut them up. It’s the perfect shortcut when you’re in a rush.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Chipotle Cheddar Corn Chowder with Bacon-Corn Bread Crumble
- 6 ounces bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cups onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups potatoes, chopped (leave the skins on)
- 1-2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 5 cups corn kernels (from about 5 ears)
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups cornbread, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- In a large heavy bottom stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and the olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a paper towel lined plate. Carefully remove about 2 tablespoons of the fat and reserve it for later. Add the onions and the butter to the remaining fat in the stockpot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and turmeric and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock, potatoes and minced chipotle peppers (use 1 tablespoon for a more mild flavor) and bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the temperature to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 12-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the corn and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in the half and half and the cheddar cheese, cooking just until the cheese is melted. Remove the soup from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Make the crumble topping. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl toss the corn bread cubes with the reserved bacon fat. Spread the corn bread out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in your pre-heated oven for 6-8 minutes, or until the corn bread is slightly browned and crisped. Remove from the oven and toss with the cooked bacon.
- To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with the bacon-corn bread crumble. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
1. If fresh corn isn’t available, you can use frozen corn.