With waxy white flesh, ruby skins, and a slightly sweet flavor, red potatoes impart a subtle earthiness to this one-pot winter chowder while retaining their shape and creamy texture. Depending on your preferences, thawed frozen peas or corn can be added at the end of cooking for an extra pop of color and flavor. —Judy Haubert
4 to 6
strips thick-cut bacon (about 12 ounces), diced
cloves garlic, minced
medium leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
medium red potatoes (about 6), scrubbed and cut into ½-inch cubes
Cook the bacon in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat until browned and crispy, 13 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove half the bacon and transfer to a paper towel-lined bowl; set aside. Drain off excess bacon fat from pot, leaving 1 tablespoon.
Melt butter in remaining bacon fat and add garlic and leek. Cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in thyme and bay leaf and cook until thyme is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until flour is no longer raw.
Gradually whisk in stock and half-and-half. Add potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until chowder is thickened and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in peas, if desired, and season to taste. Ladle chowder into individual bowls and garnish with reserved bacon.