I’ve said here many times that Fall is my favorite season. Summer can never be over fast enough for me. Usually, I’m ready to declare it Fall as of September 1st despite what the actual weather or calendar says. But this year is different. It’s weird. I almost feel like I’m cheating on Fall when I say this, but: I’m not ready for Summer to be over.
It’s not so much that this has been a great summer, in fact it’s been a pretty crappy summer filled with record high temps that chased me back into the safety of my air-conditioned apartment. No, the thing I’m regretting is that I missed out on all of the great produce. Looking back through my archives of last summer, I’m reminded of my Peach Dumplings and Blueberry Donut Muffins and Cantaloupe Pie. Because of the move to Nashville and my blogging hiatus I wasn’t able to cook or bake much at all this summer and I’m sad about that.
I think that’s why this recipe jumped out at me. It feels like Fall comfort food but it’s full of fresh vegetables, including sweet summer corn. It’s the perfect recipe to bridge the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. I make potato soup a lot in the Winter and I love it, but I would never want it on a hot summer day. This chowder gives you that potato soup taste without the heaviness. It’s still creamy but not too thick.
The first time I made this chowder it was a “light” recipe. And it was…ok. I just felt like it was missing something. That something, I decided, was cheese. So this final version is not so light anymore but it’s way better. I love cheesy broccoli soup and I love cheesy potato soup, and since this chowder has both broccoli and potatoes it only seemed right that it would have cheese, too. Oh and did I mention the bacon? Not only is it topped with crumbled bacon but the bacon grease is used to saute the onions which gives the whole chowder a nice bacon-y undertone. Anything that starts with bacon is a winner in my book!
It’s not all bad for you, though. Normally this type of soup would be made with heavy cream but the potato helps to thicken the soup without adding all that extra fat. Plus, the milk in the recipe is cooked down, so even using low fat or fat free milk it’s very creamy.
Have you ever had one of those days where you want something comforting but you don’t want to put in too much effort or get your kitchen all hot? That’s been pretty much every day for me since August. This chowder doesn’t need to simmer for a long time, so you can easily have it ready to serve in less than an hour with very minimal effort. That’s my favorite kind of dinner!
Cheesy Broccoli and Corn Chowder
adapted from Everyday Food: Light
Dinner, Lunch | Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 35 min | Total time: 50 minutes
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 head broccoli (about 1 lb.) cut into bite size florets
- 2 cups fresh (about 3 ears) or frozen corn (do not thaw)
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp. butter, sliced into thin pieces
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups freshly grated, packed sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- In a 5-quart dutch oven or heavy pot, cook bacon over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place a few sheets of paper towel on a plate and use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to the plate to drain.
- Increase heat to medium and add onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and diced potato and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
- Meanwhile, add the broccoli, corn and thyme to the potato mixture. Cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the cheese mixture to the pot and stir well. Cook for another minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topped with crumbled bacon.
Since this is a summer chowder I didn’t want it to be too thick and heavy but it’s easy enough to modify if you want a thicker soup. Reduce the chicken broth by about 1/2 cup and cook the milk mixture for longer (start while the potatoes are cooking) to make it thicker.