It’s that time of year in Texas, the month of cold weather that blows in, sticks around long enough to make us Southerners miserable, then leaves, cackling as we once more bake in the heat and humidity. And since it’s that time of year, I really start to crave soups. Soups with hearty root vegetables and thick broths that warm you from the inside. Soups that we can’t enjoy the rest of the year without fear of melting.
It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve been to the grocery store and we didn’t feel like going anywhere tonight, so I had to be a bit resourceful if I didn’t want cup noodles. Luckily, I did brave the cold on Saturday morning and went to the co-op to pick up a Bountiful Basket, so I had some fresh veggies ready to make into a soup. Combined with a well-stocked pantry and freezer, I had ingredients to make a delicious chowder. Mind you, this is a non-paleo, definitely non-vegan, carb and starch laden recipe, so those of you that are on diets, look away.
Ingredients all prepped and ready to go, I popped a tablespoon of butter into the pot and tossed in a half a package of frozen bacon once the butter melted. I always keep emergency bacon in the freezer, and it’s actually a lot easier to cut when it’s frozen and ever so slightly defrosted.
I fried the bacon until it was nice and brown and crispy, then removed all of it with my slotted spoon and put in a bowl lined with paper towels. I kept it close to snack on, though.
Then, I tossed in a diced bell pepper and diced onion and some salt, letting them soften as they cooked. Once they were softer, I threw in a teaspoon of minced garlic, cooked for a minute, then two tablespoons of flour.
After the flour was slightly browned, after about a minute of cooking, I poured in four cups of water, two chicken bullion cubes (enough to make four cups of broth), and the potatoes. I brought them to a boil, scraping up all the nice, brown bits on the bottom of my dutch oven, then covered it and lowered it to a simmer, cooking until the potatoes were soft, about ten minutes. The finer you dice the potatoes, the faster they will cook!
In went the carrots and frozen corn. I brought it back up to a boil, then lowered it to a simmer again until the carrots softened, about five more minutes.
I got too lazy to chop the fresh thyme from the first picture, so I threw in some dried thyme, a pinch of cayenne pepper, some salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
And the bacon, I can’t forget the bacon. What’s left of it…
Recipe Adapted from Food Network
1 tbsp butter
1/2 of a 12 oz package of bacon, diced
1 small to medium yellow onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups water
2 bullion cubes (or enough to make 4 cups of broth)
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots, shredded (I used this tool I bought for making zoodles!)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced)
pinch of cayenne pepper
Melt the butter in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until bacon is browned and crispy. Remove bacon and place in a dish lined with paper towels.
If there is a lot of fat in the pot, pour it off until you have about 1/4 cup of bacon fat. Add onions and peppers and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Pour in water, add bullion cubes and potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat, simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
Add in carrots and corn, bringing to a boil again. Lower heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are soft, about five more minutes.
Stir in heavy cream, thyme, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in bacon and serve!
Yields about four servings.