Potato Corn Chowder

I love this soup. My first taste of potato chowder was in the basement of the Illini Union in 1975. In keeping with the diet of this part of the world, it was made with bacon and lots of heavy cream. My version is packed with great vegetables like kale and carrots, uses low-fat milk and is one of my family’s favorites.

This afternoon, in keeping with the Illini spirit, I picked up some bacon ends at the U of I meat lab. After trimming off most of the fat, I chopped up the meat and sauteed it along with the leeks. This soup is also great with bits of ham or sausage, but is also every bit is good as a vegetarian soup. Also, add some chopped red sweet pepper if you like that.

Potato Corn Chowder

  • 1 leek or 1 large onion, chopped
  • a few slices of ham or bacon (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 5 medium potatoes, chopped (I leave the peel on)
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped
  • 2 large kale leaves, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups corn
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 2-3 cups milk
  • 1 Tbs. basil
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • salt
  • pepper

Saute the onions and meat, if you’re using it, in the olive oil. When the onion is soft add all of the vegetables and the basil, and just barely cover with water. Cook for about an hour, until the vegies are soft. Take out 2 cups of the broth and vegetable mixture and quickly run through a blender, and then return to the pot. Add the milk and butter and heat very slowly until warm. Season with salt and lots of fresh pepper.

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