I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anything by Ina Garten “The Barefoot Contessa” is always fabulous. I’ve not been disappointed yet by any dish I’ve made of hers. This one is an indulgent soup…the kind that has real, full fat ingredients.
Funny side note…
So, I was at Trader Joe’s looking at the bacon and trying to decide which one to buy. Obviously, too many choices for me. I really just wanted good, old fashioned bacon. I saw turkey bacon and immediately looked to the right. Applewood smoked pork bacon was next. Hmmm…wasn’t sure about that one, so looked to the right again. Just looking at the package, the bacon seemed to have a good meat to fat proportion, so seemed right. The package read, “beef bacon”. Huh? In my frenzy of confusion, I grabbed that along with the rest of my grocery items and returned home.
As I chopped the bacon and started frying it, I realized that this was not the good, old fashioned bacon I’ve had before. Why wasn’t our kitchen overwhelmed with the smell of bacon grease, like it typically gets? Why was the bacon so dark? Duh!? Bacon is from pigs, not cows. Ugh. Good news for me was a package of pork bacon in our freezer. I added some to the beef bacon and the soup came through. However, for future reference, I’ll be sure I remember where true bacon comes from.
Adapted from Ina Garten
8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (didn’t have on hand, so substituted a few dashes of mustard powder)
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds) (I used fresh sweet corn)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with a garnish of bacon. (I actually stirred the bacon right into the pot of soup.) I would serve with a side of warm, crusty bread and a nice chilled white or red wine. Enjoy!