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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pulled Bacon Potato Chowder

I was rummaging though the Ice Cave a few weeks ago.  You know, the never ending battle with trying to keep your freezer neat and orderly.  As I was rotating older inventory I stumbled upon a package of the pulled bacon I made with a pork butt earlier in the year.  It was time to make something with the pouch of frozen bacony goodness I was holding in my hand.

As I went upstairs, I started scouring through the pantry and a plan came together.  Bacon, potatoes, chicken broth.  Potato chowder it is.

I have this Chicken Corn Chowder recipe that I have made for years.  The original recipe is from Cooking Light.  But, I have modified it so much, I use it as my own.  I also borrow a bit from my mothers old Potato Soup recipe.  Here is what I did for this particular batch.

Pulled Bacon Potato Chowder

1 lb of Pulled Bacon.  Recipe and method in the link above.  You could substitute store bought with the fat drained from the cooked bacon.
6 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 ribs of Celery, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium Sweet Onion, roughly diced
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 tsp of dried Tarragon
1 tsp of dried Parsley
A drizzle of oil for sautéing
8 cups of Chicken Broth.  I make my own and skim the fat off.
1/2 cup light Half and Half.  You could grab the brass ring and use Heavy Cream.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

First, I roughly minced the pulled bacon to eliminate any large chunks.  Then, I took my 8 quart dutch oven and put a very small amount of olive oil in the bottom and heated to a medium high heat.  I added the oil only because the pulled bacon has a very low fat content.  I didn't want it to burn before I loosened up what fat remained.  Once the bacon was sauteing nicely, I added parsley and tarragon along with the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic mixture.  I sautéed for about 10 minutes on medium high heat until the veggies where just past tender crisp.

Then, I added the chicken broth and potatoes, and brought the mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, I lowered the heat and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

At the end of the simmer, I added the 1/2 cup of half and half, then I took my stick blender and pureed the mixture until about 1/3 of the mixture was smooth.  I tasted the soup and added salt and pepper to taste.  Then, I let the soup simmer for about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Done.  I ladled into soup bowls.  I topped mine with some shredded CoJack cheese.  Hope did the same and added a dollop of sour cream as well.

This chowder had smoky bacon in every bite, but it was not overpowering.  Pureeing the soup added a creamy component that made up for the light half and half.  This chowder was good food.  The best part was flooding the lunch room at work the next day with the smell of smoked bacon while reheating.  I always get in trouble when I do that because I never bring samples...

Thanks for stopping by,


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