Dreamy, Cheesy, Creamy, Chicken, Corn Chowder ~

I love chowder of any kind.  It makes a great lunch with a salad on a cold, damp day.  But, I wanted a chowder that would make for a hearty dinner, so I played around until I came up with this one.  It has all that you are looking for in a great meal, chicken, cheese, corn, potatoes, carrots and celery.  Oh and cream too.  Or if you want you can use milk, it will still be great.  And did I mention bacon?  Well that is what takes this chowder dreamy.... oh yes, the bacon.... yum ~ 

Don't let the steps deter you, because I make my own chicken stock for this chowder.  It's a cinch to make because I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, which is a great time saver.  And it adds a ton of flavor to the chicken stock.  This is why I don't add any extra salt until the end of the cooking process.

So, if you do want to make it with the rotisserie chicken, just cut off the breasts (I put mine in the freezer to use another time).  I use the rest of the carcass to make the stock.  I use a large 6 quart dutch oven, place the chicken in whole.  Add 1 large onion cut in half and please leave the skin on, it adds a depth of color.  Two large carrots, cut in half, two large celery cut in half, 2 bay leaves and a whole head of garlic cut in half.  Fill the pot up with cold water until it almost fills it, about an inch from the top.  Put it on the stove, bring to a boil and turn it down to simmer and place a cover on top (not all the way) and let simmer for 2 hours.  Remove the meat, bones and other items, strain into a very large bowl.  When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken meat and set aside.

Ingredients for chowder:

6 slices of bacon (diced, after cooking)
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
2 stalks of celery, diced small
3 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced small
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (I used sharp)
3 cups of Chicken stock
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of cream
2 cups shredded chicken
5 ear of fresh corn, shucked
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of red pepper

In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon on stovetop and remove from pan, set aside.  With the pan on medium heat, cook carrots and celery in renedered bacon fat for about 5 minutes, until softened a bit. Add corn and butter, stir.  Add flour and let cook while stiring for 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Turn down to medium low and add potatoes.  Simmer for 15 minutes. Add bay leaves and red pepper.

Add chicken, stir and then add milk and cream.  Bring to a near boil, but not quite.  Turn stove to medium low again. Add shredded cheese, a handful at a time, stiring to make sure all is melted before
adding more.  When cheese has been incorporated fully, shut stove off and cover chowder.  Let sit covered for 10 minutes.  Take cover off and remove bay leaves, and adjust salt and pepper.  Add crumbled bacon, stir.  Serve with a nice crusty bread.

Enjoy ~