Digging out the last Thanksgiving leftover from the plastic container at the back of the fridge, I must admit I’m done with making big meals for a few weeks (and with turkey!). Once I’ve had my fill of turkey sandwiches, followed by turkey nachos and, of course, a day of pumpkin pie for breakfast, I crave different flavors and meals that require minimal cleanup (not like the mountain of dishes I went through on Nov. 27 – and we were only taking a few side dishes to my brother’s house, not doing the whole shebang!).
For easy meals that make the whole house smell good and warm me up, I like to make a big pot of soup. Sorry – I mean chowder. See, if I tell my family we’re having soup, they think it’s an appetizer, not the entree. But if I say we’re having “chowder,” then it makes for a meal.
Usually, when I’m making a soup (did I say soup? I mean chowder … or stew), I break out the crockpot. But for this particular recipe, cook it over the stovetop using one pot. Sometimes, to make sure the potatoes get tender, I’ll use a couple pans, but I promise, this creamy potato-bacon chowder is easy cleanup.
Another added plus with chowders: Your ingredients don’t have to be exact, and neither do the cooking times. You’ll notice that I do offer both in the recipe, but if you have some extra chicken or diced, cooked carrots on hand, throw ‘em in!
So if you’re looking for a simple meal with all the comfort food favorites – like potatoes, bacon and corn – you’ll love this creamy combo. Don’t forget to make some warm muffins or toast bread to go along with your chowder!
Good to the last crumb. (Or slurp!)
- 6-8 slices of bacon
- 4 medium-sized potatoes (I prefer red ones, but any variety will do)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 1/2 cups milk (or more if you want the chowder thinner)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (or mushroom)
- 1 can of corn
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
- In the original recipe, you fry the raw, diced potatoes in the bacon until they become tender. After years of trying, I’ve never found that the potatoes get soft enough, so I add another step. Trust me, it’s worth one additional easy-to-clean pan! I’ve streamlined this recipe so that start to finish, your meal should be ready in about 30 minutes.
- First, add a medium-sized pot of salted water to the stovetop. Peel and dice your potatoes until they’re about the size of a kernel of corn. If you can’t get them that small, don’t worry; just remember that it will take more time for them to cook in the boiling water. The smaller the potato, the faster it’ll cook. I boil the potatoes until they’re tender when pierced with a fork.
- While your potatoes are boiling, dice the onion and cut the bacon into 1/4-inch strips. I usually just cut them with my kitchen scissors. Once your potatoes are halfway cooked (in the other pan), add bacon to a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Cook the bacon until almost crisp; then, add your onions. Keep your eye on the potatoes; drain them once they’re tender. With the bacon cooked through and the onions sauteed until they’re translucent, you’re ready to add the potatoes. Cook those as you would hash browns – stirring frequently and allowing the sides to brown. Add salt and pepper as you saute the potatoes.
- Add the milk and cream soup to the bacon-potato mixture. Bring to a gentle boil and stir. Drain the corn and then toss it in. Reduce the heat and bring the chowder to a slow simmer. Stir in the sour cream. That’s it! I like to top each serving with shredded cheese. Also, you can make this chowder a day ahead – it reheats beautifully.