Cheesy Potato Chowder

Fight off the cold with warm and comforting chowder.

This recipe will become a January favorite.
Cheesy Chowder
½ pound flavorful bacon

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup onion, small chopped

½ cup celery, fine chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup carrots, small chopped

4 cups potatoes, small cube

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

black pepper, fresh ground to taste

2 tablespoons cornstarch

4 cups half n half, or whole milk

2 cups sharp cheese, shredded

½ teaspoon dried thyme

pinch cayenne pepper

Chop bacon and scramble fry until crisp in a heavy bottom Dutch oven or large saucepan. Remove bacon, set aside. Drain bacon drippings from pan, but don’t wipe it out. Add butter and chopped onion and celery to the pan; saute until onion is transparent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (30-60 seconds). Add carrots, potatoes, corn, chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Cover, bring to a boil reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes reach desired tenderness.

Place cornstarch in a bowl, add approximately ½-cup half n half; set aside. Stir remaining half n half into chowder mixture and bring to a boil (caution – do not allow to boil over). Stir together cornstarch and reserved ½-cup half n half; add to chowder and stir until thick and bubbly (note: if potatoes are soft they may partially mash while stirring creating a thicker consistency).

Set aside some of the bacon and cheese for garnish. Stir remaining shredded cheese, bacon, thyme and cayenne pepper into chowder; taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with bacon, cheese and a sprinkle of dried thyme. Serve with crusty bread.

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