At All the Best we’re planning celebrations for our 30th anniversary this September. Part of the fun is looking back through our hand written recipe cards of the 1980s to see what we ate back then and how our tastes have changed over the years. One popular dish of that time was our Broccoli Cheddar Soup-basically a creamed broccoli mix with a good handful of grated Cheddar cheese stirred in- very tasty, I remember, but not exactly low cal! Today our popular soups, like Moroccan Lentil, Tomato Basil or Roasted Red Pepper) have a foundation of house-made stocks and are packed with fresh vegetables: the flavouring is more complex.
How about the irresistible combination of sweet corn and smoky bacon? This hearty soup makes a delicious meal-in-a bowl for lunch or supper on a late summer’s day.
Corn Chowder with Double Smoked Bacon
- 2 oz (60g) double-smoked bacon, cut in ½-inch (1 cm) pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 potato, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped thyme or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme
- ¼ tsp (1 ml) hot pepper flakes
- 2 ripe Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 3 cups (750 ml) corn kernels, fresh from the cob or frozen
- 4 cups (1 L) vegetable stock
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole (3.25%) milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped red bell pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel and set aside. Save about 1 tbsp (15 ml) of rendered fat in pot. Discard the rest.
Toss onion in bacon fat and sauté until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potato, garlic, thyme and hot pepper flakes and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, zucchini, corn and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. In a food processor, purée half the soup in batches.
Return the puréed soup to the vegetables in the pot. Stir in milk and bell pepper. Reheat over medium heat until steaming.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in warm bowls and garnish with crisp smoked bacon bits.
Serves 6 to 8.
All The Best,
PS. Here is another great cookbook that influenced us in the early days: The Greens Cook Book by Deborah Madison. This 1987 collection of recipes from the highly successful Greens Restaurant in San Fransisco inspired us to use fresh ingredients in imaginative and delicious ways. Madison’s latest book The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone released in Spring 2014 keeps us on our toes and is a great guide for the best vegetarian cooking.
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