Smoky Chipolte Corn Chowder with Pancetta

The weather is starting to cool down in Bonnyville. It feels like Fall is on it’s way! I don’t mind Fall weather actually I love the cool crisp air and the colors of the leaves as they change, the only thing I don’t like is the reminder that dreaded winter is just around the corner…and our winters in Alberta are just too long!

Colder temperatures always have me thinking of a nice hot bowl of soup. My middle son Jared’s favorite soup that I make is Corn Chowder – since corn is in season right now and there is an abundance of it – I thought it would be a great choice!

I normally put bacon in this soup when I make this, but I had some pancetta on hand so I decided to go with that instead. Pancetta is an italian bacon that you can find in your deli most times. It has a wonderful flavour! Just get them to slice it thick for you and use it just as you would bacon. I was a little worried at first that the pancetta may confuse the flavours in this soup – but I decided I’d go with it and call it ‘Fusion’. It turned out really yummy!

Ingredients

– 1 large onion, diced
– 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
– A couple small handfuls of baby potatoes, quartered
– 4 cobs of corn
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 chipolte pepper in adobe and 1 TBSP of the sauce
– 4 Cups Chicken Stock
– 1 Cup Cream
– 1 TBSP Corn Starch *Optional if you like a thicker soup (Alternately you can throw in a bit of flour prior to putting in stock (just let it cook out in the pancetta fat for a bit to cook out the raw taste)

Garnish:
– Shredded Montery Jack Cheese
– Fresh Italian Parsley

In a large saucepan, with a dot of olive oil saute your onions and pancetta. Let these work for a few minutes until the onions become transluscent and the pancetta begins to change colour. Add in your Red or Yellow pepper and your chipolte pepper and chipolte sauce, potatoes and garlic. Stir to combine and let this simmer away on a lower temperature for another few minutes. While this works – take the corn off your cobs. Throw the corn in and break one of the cobs in half and throw this in the pot (this will add lots of corn flavour). Pour in your chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat a little and let cook away for a bit until your potatoes are tender. Once that happens turn the heat to low and add in your cream (I used half and half). Let sit on low heat for another 15 minutes or so to let the flavours meld, but once you’ve added the cream do not boil. Remove your corn stalks. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. With an immersion blender, blend about 1/2 of the soup or a bit more.

**To Thicken: Normally I throw in about a TBSP or so of flour with the onions and pancetta and pepper mix and cook out for a bit before I throw in the stock to thicken. I forgot to do this yesterday so I threw in some cornstarch once my stock came to a boil, by taking a bit of the cooking liquid out – in a glass or small bowl mix 1 TBSP cornstarch with removed cooking liquid and then pour back in. Either method works fine.

With your remaining Chipolte in adobe. (In Canada they come in small cans). We never use the whole can at once as it is just too much spice for a meal. With the remaining, I freeze in little plastic ziploc bags and store in my freezer for future use. 1 little can gives us about 5-6 meal uses.

We served sprinkled with a little italian parsley and shredded monterey jack cheese and served with some toasty warm homemade buns. Perfect for a chilly (pre-fall) day!

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