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This summer chowder from our November 2010 issue is rich but not heavy—full of crispy bacon and fresh corn, it is thickened not with flour, but by pureeing a little of the soup then stirring the starchy purée back in.

Yield: serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 8 bacon strips, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. (2 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 3 3 medium new potatoes (1½ lb.), peeled and cut into ½-in. cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cups thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Working over a large bowl, use a heavy chef’s knife to slice the corn kernels off the cob, scraping the cob with the knife to extract the flavorful juices. Halve 5 of the bare corn cobs crosswise, discarding the rest. Set the corn kernels and cobs aside.
  2. In a large pot set over medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the bacon to a small, heatproof bowl and set aside, leaving the remaining bacon and bacon fat in the pot. Add the butter, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 6 minutes. Add the reserved corn kernels and cobs, milk, and potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Discard the cobs and bay leaf; transfer 1½ cups of the soup to a blender and purée, then stir the purée back into the chowder to thicken. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish with the reserved bacon and basil and serve hot.

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