Growing up near the coast, I fell in love with chowders. Clear clam chowder, corn chowder, and fish chowder were my favorites - until a few years ago, when I found a book, 50 Chowders, by Jasper White. He included a section on "farmhouse chowders." This chowder is based on one of his little beauties. —Elle
slices of bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
fresh oregano or fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons
Idaho (russet) or LaSoda (red) potatoes in 3/4" cubes
In a medium sized heavy pot, over low heat, rend a couple T of fat from the chopped bacon. Raise the heat to medium, and cook the bacon til it's crispy. Pour off most of the rendered fat.
Add the butter, onion, and oregano or thyme (whatever your garden is giving you) to the pot. Cook til the onion is translucent...but not toasty, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the dry mustard, and stir it in for a minute or so.
Add the chopped potatoes and chicken stock. Cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or til the potatoes are "tender on the outside, but still firm in the center." Crush some of the potatoes with a wooden spoon, and cook for a few more minutes on medium heat. The crushed potatoes will thicken the chowder.
Add the red bell pepper. Cook for another 4 or 5 minutes. The peppers should be allowed to retain some crunch.
Take the chowder pot off the stove. Stir in the cream. Season with pepper. Stir in the grated cheddar, and continue stirring til the cheese is all melted and blended into the broth.
Taste for salt (cheddar can be salty, so add salt last) and pepper.