Cheddar Corn Chowder

DSCF1204(KERI) This post is all about change.

Metamorphosis.
Transformation.
Transition.
And the direct correlation all that switch-it-change-it has to some corn kernels, a little freshly shredded cheddar and a bang of bacon.

Let me explain.

It’s October. This is the time of year we open our front doors to crisp apples, blazing leaves and pumpkins galore. But it’s also the time of year when our fingertips cling like the dickens to those of summer. Sweet, sweet summer. The naked tootsies, vibrant produce and smell of sunscreen on sweet baby foreheads. We love summer. We’re not quite ready to let go. We love autumn. And the space between is a time we here at Two Bites have grown quite fond of.

Personally, I’ve had to ease into the idea of the ‘space between.’ The gray place where too little is clear – are we going left or right? Up or down? Is it black or white – has not always been appealing to me. I like to … know. I like decision. Action. N-O-W. No gray. But a funny thing happened on the way to maturity: I figured out what’s so sexy about gray. Where the heck  have I been … living according to zeros and ones??!

You see, the space between is a place where you get to dip your toe, try things on and dismiss them if you don’t like how they feel, all with very little consequence. Transition time means you can be a little irresponsible, you’re just moving through afterall! Let me just say it plainly: In this magical place between black and white, you don’t have to commit. You can just hang out for a bit. Man, seriously, where. have. I. been? It’s sort of awesome.

It’s October. I said that. And yet here in the Mile High City, it’s 80 degrees outside. Mother Nature is transitioning. She’s hangin’ out in the space between – clinging to that glorious gray matter. Who are we to argue? Mother Nature is bigger than we are. Let’s go with it with a little Cheddar Corn Chowder.

It is possible to still get good, sweet corn. Go to the market and you’ll see.

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Cook onions in bacon grease. When has this act ever let you down?

DSCF1187There are potatoes to add…

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And hearty stock, golden-rod turmeric and cheddar to introduce…

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Corn couldn’t be happier. Drop bits of that plumpy, cooked bacon on top and voila. It all comes together for a perfect ‘space between’ meal. Summer can linger for just a bit longer. We don’t mind. Boy, is this soup good – perfect depth and balance.

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As autumn waits her turn while summer packs her bag, get cozy with the in-between. Wear a sweatshirt with your shorts. Change will come inevitably, we’ll eventually have to decide: Coffee or tea? In or out? Until then, grab the hand of summer and hang out a while with some Cheddar Corn Chowder.

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Cheddar Corn Chowder – tweaked barely from this recipe by Ina Garten
4 ounces bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (1 pound)
5 cups corn kernels, fresh (4-5 ears – kernels cut off the cob) or frozen (1.5 pounds)
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated, plus another 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the pot, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are slightly brown.Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer to cook uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn to the pot, 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 and some shreds of cheddar.
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