Philadelphia has changed so much so that I at times feel like a tourist in my own hometown. Sure the corner convenience store is still there as are the dry cleaners but our old gym (we used to go to the gym before we had kids) is now an art gallery displaying woodworking masterpieces that have me salivating every time I walk by. We ventured out into old city on a mini-date without our very own mini dates. Our first stop was at this new (at least to us) restaurant which features a pretty awesome beer garden. The beer garden overlooks the enclosed liberty bell and is entirely outdoors flanked by industrial pillars that are canopied by all manner of lush, country-style greenery. Patrons sit on wooden stumps and mismatched chairs at small tables playing Jenga with a beverage in hand while nestling their feet into pebbles. Small lights that dot the canopy and music complete the tranquil space. If you didn’t try to peer through the greenery or hear the occasional duck boat, you’d never think you were in the city or much less in a tourist-laden part of the city.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the sun, peace and quiet, I returned home and decided that something sunny and yet warming was in order. What better to make than a fall corn chowder.
Fall Corn Chowder
3 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup flour
3 1-lb bags of frozen corn
3.5 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
12 oz yukon gold potatoes cut into 1 cm cubes
3 sprigs of thyme, taken off the stem and minced
1 cup heavy cream
Cut the bacon into small pieces and place into a large pot. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook until the bacon is completely rendered and crispy. Remove the bacon onto a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pot along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until softened or about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute until fragrant and add flour. Mix well and continue cooking until the flour is no longer visible or 1-2 minutes. Add 2.5 cups of chicken broth, the milk, reserved bacon and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile take 1/3 of the frozen corn and pulse in blender with 1 cup of broth until the corn is chopped fine but not a paste. Dice the potatoes and add those, the pulsed corn and the remainder of the corn along with the thyme to the pot. Simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked through (10-15 minutes). Add the heavy cream and cook a 5 more minutes until the corn and potatoes are just cooked through. Add salt to taste and serve.