[corn chowder]

Adapted from Rachel Ray's 'Bacon-Makes-It-Better Corn Chowder' This soup is really filling and can serve 4 - so we had two bowls of leftovers. They re-heat really well from the fridge and keep for a few days after.

1 quart chicken stock or broth (4 cups)
4 ears of fresh corn, shucked
1 tbsp olive oil
6-7 slices bacon, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
4-8 dashes hot sauce, Tapatio (we like some heat, but if you don't - try 4 small dashes)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper

Place the chicken stock/broth in a large pot (3 quart pan will do), over high heat, bring to a boil. While it comes to a boil, prepare the corn - cut off the corn kernels from the cobs and reserve the kernels. Add the cobs to the stock cover and simmer over low heat. (Let is simmer until you add it to everything else later).

Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon (leave as much liquid as possible in the pot) and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Return the pot to the heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the yellow onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, hot sauce, salt and pepper (just a little - adjust later). Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are starting to brown.

Add the reserved corn kernels to the onions in the soup pot and cook for 2 minutes (stirring). Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove the corn cobs from the broth and add the broth to the onions and corn in the soup pot. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Serve the soup garnished with lots of the crispy bacon pieces and saltines, oyster crackers or crusty bread.

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