Bacon and Smoked Corn Chowder
2 pounds frozen sweet corn (see note)
12 ounces smoked bacon, small dice
2 yellow onions, small dice
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, small dice
4 stalks celery, small dice
1/2 gallon 2 percent milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
Paprika (Use smoky Spanish paprika, if desired)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread frozen corn kernels on sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Drizzle a little olive oil over corn; roast, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until kernels at pan’s edges are golden brown. Do not char. Remove corn from oven and set aside.
In a large, heavy pot sprayed with cooking spray, sauté diced bacon over medium-high heat until cooked and slightly crisp.
Add the onions, potatoes and celery and cook for five more minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to medium.
Stir in the corn, milk, cream, thyme, tarragon, cayenne; cook for 20 minutes.
Make the roux: Slowly cook the butter and flour in a skillet until golden brown and floury taste has disappeared. Add the roux, salt and pepper to the pot with the corn mixture and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Lower heat when soup comes to a boil.
Stir in the Parmesan; garnish top of soup with parsley and paprika. Serve.
Note: In the summer, smoke fresh corn cobs on the grill using mesquite wood chips. Soak chips in water for one hour. Heat chips over hot coals until smoking.
Place cobs on grill and close cover, cooking about 15 minutes. Cool before cutting kernels off cobs.
Yield: About 4 quarts, serves 10-12
Nutritional information per serving: 509 cal., 34 g fat ( 17 g sat.), 109 mg chol., 32 g carb., 868 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 20 g pro.