Corn Chowder

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chowderA chilly day in Vermont…or anywhere else in the northern hemisphere… calls for hearty soups. Whether the start of a several-course meal, or as the main entrée, this delicious corn chowder is sure to satisfy. Enjoy it with a tossed salad, a crunchy whole grain roll and a glass of milk for a balanced menu. This recipe also shows how a small amount of bacon – a food you may have previously thought couldn’t be part of healthy eating — can add zest to a good-for-you meal.

(Makes about 6 servings)

2 slices bacon
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 (14 ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 (14 ounce) can cream-style corn
1/3 cup white wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 to 1 cup water or skim milk

Sauté bacon in a large saucepan or soup pot until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and place on paper towel.

Add celery and carrots to pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; slowly add chicken broth, stirring continuously until blended. Add 1 cup water and potatoes. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add corn, wine, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and heat through. Add additional water or milk to desired thickness. Reheat as necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon and add to soup (reserve a small amount for garnish if desired). Ladle soup in bowls; garnish with small sprig of thyme and crumbled bacon.