Corn and Bacon Chowder-Chili

The smoky flavor of bacon adds character to almost any chili, soup, or stew, and here, paired with corn and potatoes, it makes this chili extra-special. For a veggie version, simply skip the bacon, use 3 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil to sauté the vegetables, and add a drop or two of liquid smoke.

Yield: serves 2 to 4

6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into ½ inch wide pieces

2 cups chopped onions

3 cups diced unpeeled russet potatoes (2 to 3 potatoes)

4 fresh green chiles, parched, peeled, stemmed, and chopped, or 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles

4 fresh red chiles, parched, peeled, stemmed, and chopped (see Note)

2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn (if fresh, cut from 1 large ear of corn)

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups whole milk

½ cup heavy (whipping) cream or evaporated skim milk

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Hot pepper sauce (optional)

1 teaspoon crushed caribe chile

  1. Place the bacon in a large saucepan or pot over medium to medium-low heat, and cook until it is crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set it aside.
  1. Drain most of the bacon drippings from the saucepan, leaving just a thin layer on the bottom. Add the onions and potatoes and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the potatoes are slightly browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.
  1. Add the green and green chiles, corn, broth, milk, and cream and stir well. Add the cumin and salt, cover the pan, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  1. Stir in the bacon. Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding hot pepper sauce to taste (you can also pass it at the table, if you prefer). Serve sprinkled with the caribe chile.

Note: If you can’t find fresh red chiles, chop 1 jar (4 ounces) drained pimiento strips and add several drops hot pepper sauce.

The spicy flavors of chili have always paired well with cornbread. This Pie is actually rather similar in taste to the Tamale Pie, page . It is lighter and differently flavored in that the cornbread is not as dense as the mush. You can use any leftover chili for this one.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 teaspoon butter

3 cups leftover chili

½ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup pickled jalapenos, chopped

1 recipe Bacon Crumble Cornbread, recipe page

½ cup Monterey Jack-Cheddar cheese grated mix

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Meanwhile, butter a three quart casserole or baking pan. Place the chili, onion and jalapenos in layers. Prepare the cornbread, recipe page omitting the bacon.

2. Place the cornbread on top of the chili. Then smooth out to the corners of the casserole. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Variation: If desired a small cornbread mix could be used instead of the cornbread indicated above.

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