This chowder arose out of... well, mostly, my desire for chowder. I think once it was designed to employ leftovers from a corn and potato sautee my family loves, but I started making it at random and found it delightful in a number of ways. You can make this vegetarian by using some butter or olive oil instead of bacon fat, and swapping out the chicken stock for veggie broth (I recommend these little babies, as they are delicious and taste JUST like chicken broth.)
The best thing about this soup is that it can be made to any scale, with just about any form or amount of ingredients you have on hand. I like to make fairly big batches, though, because it goes fast.
Put your bacon in a pan to render. This is best done by starting the bacon in a cold pan and putting it on low heat. You get the most fat out of your delicious pork product that way.
Now, if you are lazy like me, you probably have the following things in your freezer: a bag of mirpoix-style mixed veggies (chopped onions, carrots, and celery), and a bag of potatoes o'brien (which consists of diced potatoes, chopped onions, and bell peppers). If this is the case, just haul 'em out and let them thaw a little while the bacon fat renders. You can adjust the proportions to your liking. I like more corn than potato, myself.
If you do not have these things, simply chop all your veggies into small pieces; you don't want them too much bigger than the corn kernels. It's not a ton of work, but on nights when you are tired it can be the difference between having delicious soup and eating a banana for dinner.
Once the bacon is sufficiently crispy, remove it to some paper towels for draining (or munching while you assemble everything else). Cook the veggies in the bacon fat until the onions are somewhat translucent and everything smells delicious (if you plan to blend the soup, I advise reserving half the corn). I generally go ahead and toss the bay leaf in at this point. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Once the veggies are cooked, add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, stirring now and then--the starch released by the potatoes will help to thicken the soup slightly. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. If you're going to blend, blend now--an immersion blender is easiest, but if you want to pour the soup into a blender, then go right ahead. Just be careful; it's hot. Add the remaining corn kernels after blending, because it's nice to be able to see them.
Stir in a bit of cream--how much is up to you. I generally go with 1/2-1 cup, depending on how large a batch of soup I'm making. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and tobasco.
Remove bay leaf and devour.
Things that Taste Good On This Soup: