I love soup. That is all there is to it. I have not always loved soup, but that is probably because “soup” used to mean something from a can that didn’t have much taste or nutritional value. Now that I’ve made several types of soup myself, I have come to realize what a great food soup can be when it is homemade. Tonight I decided to try this new recipe, another one from my Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Like every other recipe I have tried from this book, it was delicious! Ben even says it now takes the place of his favorite soup – pretty good, if you ask me.

The only thing I dislike about Ina’s recipes is the huge quantities they make. This recipe serves 10-12 people normally, so I made a third of the regular recipe (not easy to do with these dimensions, by the way). Also, to make it a bit healthier, I used turkey bacon and reduced fat white cheddar cheese. I don’t have any real changes of my own, and I don’t think I’ll change anything next time either. This is good just as it is :)

Cheddar Corn Chowder
serves 10-12

8 oz. bacon, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 lbs.)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 lbs.)
2 cups half-and-half
8 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

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 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 cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, 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.

Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten and Martha Stewart, Clarkson Potter, 1999