Hearty Bacon, Cheese, & Potato Chowder
bacon, cooked and crumbled
golden potatoes, peeled and cubed
yellow onion, chopped
carrot, peeled and chopped
red pepper, chopped
sweet butter, unsalted
flour, all-purpose variety
pepper jack cheese, grated
vermont white cheddar, grated
salt, kosher variety, to taste
pepper, freshly ground, to taste
chicken stock, not broth
1Gather and prep your ingredients.
2In a sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy.
3Remove from pan, and drain on paper towels.
5Chef’s Note: Don’t clean out the pan; we’ll be using it again in a few minutes.
6Finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, and grate and chop the carrot, and the celery.
7Dice the red bell pepper.
8Peel the potatoes or wash and leave the skins on (I prefer the skins on), and then cut into cubes.
9Take a pot of water with a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and then add the cubed potatoes.
10Boil until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, do not overcook.
11Chef’s Tip: Take a pairing knife and insert into the potato. If it goes in with a slight resistance… they’re done.
12Remove the potatoes from the water, and reserve.
13Heat up the sauté pan that you cooked the bacon in over medium heat, and add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and peppers.
14Sauté the veggies in the bacon grease until tender, but not browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
15Chef's Note: As the veggies begin to release their moisture, use a wooden spoon to scrape up and dissolve all those brown bits (fonds) left by the bacon... that's pure flavor.
16Chef’s Note: If you prefer, you could wipe out the pan, and add a bit of olive oil; instead of the bacon grease.
17Add the chicken stock to the pan, and bring up to a simmer.
18Add the cooked potatoes, and the bacon to the sauté pan, and continue to lightly simmer.
19Using a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
20When the foaming subsides, add the flour and whisk for a minute or two.
21Add the ground thyme, and continue to whisk for about 30 seconds.
22Add the milk, and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.
23Chef’s Note: As the mixture is beginning to thicken, add a bit of salt, and pepper, to taste.
24Add the milk mixture to the sauté pan.
26Chef's Tip: As you stir the mixture, continue to season the dish with additional salt and pepper, until you're happy with the results.
27Add the pepper jack and cheddar cheese to the pan.
28Stir until the cheese melted and completely combined.
29Serve while still warm with some crackers, and maybe a splash of sherry. Enjoy
30Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
Originally Posted: Sat, Dec 6, 2014