For vegetarian option, omit the bacon and use 2 Tbsps of butter instead.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 strip bacon, or 1 teaspoon bacon fat
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup small diced carrot
- 1/2 cup small diced celery
- 4-5 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved (see steps for taking corn off the cob)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large (1-inch) diced (about 3 cups)
- 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 Cook the bacon: Place butter and bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon renders its fat, 3-4 minutes.
2 Add the onions, bell pepper, carrot, celery: Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, carrot, and celery, lower the heat to medium low and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
3 Add corn cobs (stripped of corn), milk, bay leaf to pot, simmer: Break the corn cobs in half (after you've stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the "warm" setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.
4 Add potatoes, salt, thyme: After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, salt, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
5 Discard cobs, bacon, bay leaf, then add corn, black pepper: Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and black pepper. Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Add more salt and pepper to taste.