It's that time of year again....I have too many tomatoes, too much basil , green peppers, etc. We seem to be eating BLTs all the time. And the sweet corn! I bought extra today because it was only $1.50 for a half dozen, with the idea that I'd make corn chowder for work lunch this week. I googled around and all the recipes seemed too heavy with cream. I wanted to use bacon (and a little bacon fat) instead. I wanted something lighter, and to use up some of my garden extras. Time to improvise....here's how I made my corn chowder. I didn't to it this time, but could see even adding zucchini to this. Perfect for summer!
2 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup small diced green bell pepper
4-5 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved (this can be cooked already)
4 cups milk, whole or low fat
1 cup diced potatoes (1/2 inch)
2 small zucchini, diced (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 t. turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
diced fresh tomatoes
basil leaves, cut into thin strip
Place chopped bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon slightly browns and renders its fat, 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper lower the heat to medium low and cook until vegetables soften. Break the corn cobs in half (after you've stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer. After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Discard the cobs add the corn kernels and zucchini and thyme and turmeric Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with tomatoes and basil.