Notes: Freeze the bacon first for easy chopping. The stock can be prepared the day before. Avoid overcooking the potatoes. This chowder reheats well.
- 1 whole small chicken (about 3 pounds)
- 3 medium onions, divided (1 halved, 2 finely chopped)
- 4 stalks celery, divided (2 halved, 2 finely chopped)
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 8 sprigs thyme (4 left whole, leaves removed from 4 and chopped)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 8 ounces bacon finely chopped
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 quart)
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Handful chopped parsley
Place chicken in large Dutch oven. Add halved onion, halved celery stalks, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 4 sprigs thyme. Add just enough water to cover (about 3 quarts). Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is falling off the bone, about 1 hour.
Carefully remove chicken from stock and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat, then return bones to pot. Continue to simmer stock for 1 more hour. Meanwhile, shred chicken, place in a medium boil, add 1 ladle of stock, and refrigerate until ready to use.
After 1 hour, strain stock and let sit 15 minutes. Skim fat from top, then measure. You should have about 6 to 7 cups. If more, gently simmer to reduce. If less, add water to reach at least 6 cups.
In empty stockpot, heat oil and bacon over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until bacon is crispy and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate.
Add chopped onions, chopped celery, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pot. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add flour and cook until pale golden blond, about 1 minute. Whisk in stock in a thin steady stream until fully incorporated. Add potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
Add corn and chopped thyme. Cook until corn is just tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken, bacon, and cream to heat through. Season to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.