Creamy Vidalia Onion Chowder
4 slices bacon
2 T. olive oil
2 lbs. (about 4 medium) Vidalia or other sweet onions
1 package (20 ounces) refrigerated mashed potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 cups mashed potatoes)
1 T. bottled minced garlic
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) fat-free chicken broth
2 C. frozen yellow corn kernels
2 bay leaves
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. ground black pepper, or more, to taste
1/2 C. sour cream
Place the bacon on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until crisp. Blot with a paper towel to remove any excess grease. Set aside.
Heat the oil on medium in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Meanwhile, peel the onions one at a time and coarsely chop, adding the onions to the pot as you chop. When all of the onions have been added, raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, microwave the mashed potatoes according to the package directions, until just warm, about 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and set aside.
Add the garlic to the soup pot, and stir and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and stir well, scraping the pot bottom to remove any brown bits. Add the mashed potatoes, corn, bay leaf, thyme and black pepper.
Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring the soup back to a boil. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the bacon and set aside. When the soup boils, remove the pot from the heat and turn off the stove. Remove the bay leaves, and stir in the sour cream until it is well-combined. Serve at once in soup bowls, sprinkling the bacon on top at the table.