Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free!)

by Kristen on September 15, 2014

Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free!)

The evenings around here are starting to turn a little chilly. Don’t get me wrong, the days are beautiful and lay-on-the-beach sunny, but autumn is definitely just around the corner. As the sun heads south I’ve been turning my attention to things like warm bowls of grilled corn chowder to ward off those light evening chills.

Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free!)

This is a great end of summer soup to add to your repertoire. If you’re anything like me and are doing your best to add corn to absolutely everything you eat before its season ends then you should definitely try this chowder, and this Healthy Southwest Pizza (which has lots of sweet roasted corn on it) too.

Aaaaannnd if it’s the middle of winter and the only corn to be found is what’s in a bag in your freezer … go ahead and use it! Yes, corn is best when it is fresh but it is one vegetable that freezes pretty darn well.

Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free!)

(I’m sorry in advance for nagging at you guys.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The most important part of any soup is the stock! There is not a single soup recipe out there that won’t be made better or worse depending on the stock you use. If you can, use a homemade stock. If you can’t, use the best quality stock you can find.

Will the recipe still be good if you use a cheap stock out of the can? Ya, it’ll be pretty good. Will it be better if you use homemade stock? Absolutely. I always keep some homemade stock in the freezer to pull out when I get a craving for soup. If you haven’t tried making your own yet you might be surprised at how easy it is. You can check out the posts Homemade Chicken Stock and Homemade Turkey Stock for more information.

Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free!)

I’ve decided to keep this corn chowder dairy free for 2 reasons:

  1. Dairy and my stomach don’t get along so well so they avoid each other if possible.
  2. We had no cream in the house and I was too lazy to go and buy some.

Tricks to making any creamy soup dairy free:

  • Start by making a roux – that’s the fancy name for adding flour to fat, cooking it for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste, and then adding liquid to the paste. It’ll thicken soup and help give it a creamy texture.  (If you’ve made gravy before you’ve likely used this method to thicken it.)
  • Adding potatoes to any soup that you want to be dairy free, and then blending them, will make your dairy free soup extra creamy. If you were making a soup but didn’t want potato chunks in it you could blend some cooked potatoes with the soup liquid and get the same effect.
  • Depending on the soup you are making you can also add other cooked and pureed root vegetables to help thicken it and make it creamy. Sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes all work very well.
  • Avoid adding milk substitutes. Most milky alternatives have a very different flavour than cow’s milk and can quickly change the flavour of your soup, and often in a not so good kind of way.

Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free!)

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Grilled Corn and Bacon Chowder (dairy free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (count on 3 medium cobs of corn)
  • 1 teaspoon neutral flavoured oil
  • 5 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces *see notes about how to do this easily
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour (sub gluten free flour blend to keep this gluten free)
  • 4 cups of your favourite stock - homemade for the best flavour
  • 4 cups potatoes, cut into ¼ inch dice - about the size of a kernel of corn
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Green onions, for garnish
Instructions
To grill the corn:
  1. Preheat the grill on high. Remove the husks and the silk from the corn and coat the cobs in oil. Grill, turning as each side starts to blacken, for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and, when it is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob by standing the corn on its end and carefully running the knife down the side under the kernels.
To roast the corn:
  1. If you're using frozen corn or don't have a grill you can roast it instead. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the corn kernels from the cob if you're using fresh corn. Place the corn on a rimmed baking sheet and roast it in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until it has started to brown in some places. Remove the corn from the oven.
To make the soup:
  1. Add the bacon to a large pot over medium high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but not crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 5 more minutes until the onion is lightly brown and the bacon has just begun to crisp. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir the pot. Let the flour cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock all at once and bring the pot to a boil. Add the potatoes to the pot and let it return to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the soup stays at a low boil with the lid off. Continue to cook until the potatoes have cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Once the potatoes are soft remove about 2 cups of the soup and place it in a blender. Carefully (it will be very hot!) blend the soup on high for 1 minute then pour it back into the soup.
  5. Stir in the roasted corn and season the soup generously with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Serve top with the green onions.
Notes
*I always keep some bacon in my freezer. When I want to use it for recipes like this one I just take it out and and thinly slice it from frozen. You'll be surprised how easy it is to cut when it is frozen.

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