Spicy Corn Chowder with Bacon
Sweet corn and jalapeños give this summertime chowder an extra spicy kick. Salty bacon and Cojita cheese take it over the top. Pair with a side salad and dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.
There’s nothing better than summer corn. Like tomatoes and peaches, sweet corn is one of those things that I wait for all year. Inevitably, I get impatient when I start seeing it in the store…..already shucked and wrapped in plastic. All signs point to “Don’t you dare put that in your cart” but I do it anyway. Every.Single.Year. And when I sit down to eat my first corn of the season…it’s not quite what I had in mind. But I had no self control. It’s like a lesson I will never, ever learn. Patience, grasshopper.
This year was no different. Luckily, the week after my annual corn buying fiasco, fresh corn was available at my local farmer’s market. I bought 14 ears. For 3 1/2 people. I usually figure 2 ears per person but I couldn’t help myself. I thought I would eat 9 ears myself. So, what do you do with leftover corn on the cob? Lots of things. But let’s start with this Spicy Corn Chowder with Bacon….and Cojita Cheese, my new favorite thing on the planet.
I love a little heat with sweet corn…and the saltiness of the bacon really adds a great base for everything else in the pot. I toyed with the idea of adding cheddar because….cheddar does make everything better. But I wanted a cheese that would keep it’s shape and not melt, completely, into the chowder. It adds an extra texture to the chowder….kinda like a mystery ingredient. But it’s not a mystery….it’s cheese.
I upped the heat factor a little to make it a bit mexicany. I like things spicy but not hair on fire spicy….so I added some chili powder and cayenne. Feel free to leave those out if you like things subtly spicy. It still seemed a little one dimensional so I threw in some cumin. That was it. That made it very South-of-the-Border. Mexicany.
Sweet, spicy, creamy, salty, bacony, cheesy…..it’s all in there…in one big pot. Quick, easy and so, so tasty!
Spicy Corn Chowder with Bacon
- 3 slices of bacon cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
- 1 onion diced
- 2 jalapeño peppers seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 ears of corn kernels removed
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 5 ounces crumbled Cojita cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven or pot, cook the bacon over med-high heat until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat and return the pot to the heat reducing it to medium. Add the onions to the pot and cook until softened, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the jalapeños and garlic to the onions and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the corn and sprinkle the onion/corn mixture with cornstarch and stir. Continue to cook for another minute and then add the broth stirring constantly to avoid creating lumps. Stir in the half and half, chili powder, cayenne, sugar and cumin. Allow the chowder to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cheese and continue simmering over low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately topped with the reserved crumbled bacon.