The past few months I've really started getting into soups, but this is one soup I've been making since the February 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. It's delicious and so darn quick and easy. All of the ingredients are already in my kitchen except the half and half, but in a pinch you could substitute milk.
This soup is great as an entree with some good bread and a salad. I have also served the Smoky Corn Chowder in a shot glass (or other small vessel) as an amuse-bouche before the meal.
Smoky Corn Chowder
Adapted from Real Simple, Feb 2008
Yield: 2 quarts
8 oz sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen corn
1 cup half and half
4 scallions (optional)
1 baguette (optional)
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic, paprika, red pepper, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Stir in the corn, broth, and half and half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender (in small batches) and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and taste; adjust seasoning if needed.
Divide the soup among bowls and top with the scallions and bacon. Serve with bread, if desired.