A Squared: Slow Cooker Bacon Corn & Potato Chowder

Monday, March 17, 2014

Slow Cooker Bacon Corn & Potato Chowder

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This holiday is a BIG deal in Chicago and people here celebrated all weekend long. As an Irish girl I should be more excited about it... but instead, I spent the weekend getting my apartment organized, filing my tax returns, and starting a condo search (Eeeeee! More on that later). I did, however, create a new recipe using a few of Ireland's favorite ingredients: potatoes, bacon, and cheddar. And corned beef or soda bread aside, I don't think that there is anything better than a filling bowl of warm soup to enjoy with a nice pint of Guinness (or other green beer of your liking) on this Irish holiday.

This chowder is the ultimate comfort food-- full of hearty potatoes, smoky bacon, and sweet corn. There are so many great flavors happening here and they marry together so nicely after slow cooking for hours. And if you can make it ahead of time, I think it tastes even better the next day!

I also love that this is a full meal in itself and that because it is made in the slow cooker, it is pretty low maintenance to make. There is a little veggie and bacon prep work at the beginning and few finishing steps at the end, but those little touches really complete this chowder. Let me also point out that this is a hearty creamy soup, but that there's actually no cream in it. That creaminess comes from a few things: slow cooking and then partially pureeing starchy vegetables, a little low fat milk, some Greek yogurt and cheese. Not nearly as unhealthy as your typical chowder or potato soup.

I know that spring is upon us, but if it's still chilly where you are (it sure is here in Chicago) then make up a batch of this chowder and thaw out inside while you wait for the weather to do the same!


  • 5 slices center cut bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard 
  • 1 tsp. dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked salt *I found Hickory Smoke Salt at The Spice House. Smoked salt is available at most major or gourmet grocers or at Williams-Sonoma. If you can't find it then just sub in another 1/2 tsp. of regular salt instead.
  • 4 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk 
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add bacon to the pan and cook on both sides until browned and crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, being careful to leave the bacon grease in the pan. Once the bacon has cooled slightly, chop it into a small dice and set aside.

Heat the bacon grease over medium heat and add onion, carrots, and celery to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften slightly and then add the garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes and then scrape the vegetable mixture into a large cooker.

*If your slow cooker has a saute functionality, then all of the above steps can be done right in the slow cooker-- not pan and stovetop needed.

Cut the kernels off of all 4 ears of corn and add to the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add the diced potatoes and the next 8 ingredients (through broth) to the slow cooker. Stir in half of the diced bacon and cover.

Cook on low for 5 hours until potatoes are tender.

After slow cooking is complete, remove the bay leaf and the thyme branches (by this time most of the leaves will have fallen off and incorporated into the soup) and discard. Ladle 2 cups of the soup into a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Stir the pureed soup mixture back into the slow cooker along with the milk, yogurt, and cheese. Combine and cook on high for 30 additional minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle the top with a little more crumbled bacon. You could also garnish with additional shredded cheese, chopped fresh parsley, sour cream or Greek yogurt, or sliced green onions too.

Looking for more slow cooker recipes? Try this Slow Cooker Thai-Style Pork Stew or Chianti-Braised Slow Cooker Pot Roast.

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  1. This soup looks unbelievable! So creamy and filled with flavor. I love that it was made in a slow cooker. I need this!

    1. Thanks, Jocelyn! It was even better the next day-- and so easy since it was made in my slow cooker!


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