Jake and I are pretty much all set for the baby to come.  The nursery is almost complete.  The gear is put together (the perks of marrying an engineer).  My belly is huge.  So now we just have to sit around for another month and a half and wait for her to make her grand entrance.  What to do, what to do…. 

I know!  Corn chowder!  As though we don’t already eat enough corn in this place.  But it’s summer and it’s corn season, so we might as well take this golden opportunity (pun intended) to eat as much as possible.  What’s funny is that there really isn’t anything as far from summer food as a hot, thick chowder.  It’s a bit of an oxymoron.  But the past week has been cold and rainy so everything worked out well and Jake and I didn’t have too much of a food identity crisis.

Originally, the idea was to make jalapeno cheddar corn bread.  But corn bread isn’t really a meal, and I didn’t want to have to make anything else (lazy).  So I made a chowder instead.  And it was deeelicious. 

The jalapenos make a big difference in the flavor.  They really gave the soup a good kick that you couldn’t get from plain old salt and pepper.  Obviously, use more or less as you like, but I definitely wouldn’t omit them.  Jake usually doesn’t like jalapenos and even he thought that they were great in this recipe. 

Cheesy Jalapeno Corn Chowder (adapted loosely from Ina Garten):

8 - 10 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
8 cups chicken broth
3 large light-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and cubed
2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 cups of corn (if fresh, cook the corn in boiling water for about 3 minutes, if frozen just use the corn as is)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

In a large stockpot or dutch oven, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon set it aside, leaving the fat and olive oil in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Don’t forget to stir the onions to keep them from burning.

Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, jalapenos, and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Add the corn to the soup, then add the heavy cream and cheese. Cook for 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted.  Crumble the bacon on top.  The chowder can be refrigerated for a few days, and the leftovers are just as good as the first night.  Yum.

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