Although I live in a warm climate, I still get cravings for hearty soups like a filling chowder. One of my favorites is potato-corn chowder, but I usually struggle with getting good flavor into the soup other than bacon. Since I've been cooking a lot of chicken lately, I decided to concoct a chicken-based chowder (still with lots of bacon).
First, I went to the market and got a chicken to make a good stock with. In Singapore, every chicken has its head connected, something I'm not used to from the States. Extra flavor, I told myself, and I tossed it in the pot with the usual stock ingredients: onion, celery, and black peppercorns. After about an hour I pulled the meat from the bones and continued to simmer the carcass for another two hours. At that point my apartment was about as hot and humid as a nursery hothouse, but at least I had a super rich stock as a backbone for the soup.
The bacon! I browned a good amount of it, then threw in more onions, celery, and thyme. I poured in the stock, simmered some moist Yukon Gold potatoes, some fresh-from-the-cob corn kernels (courtesy of my perpetual summer next door neighbor, Malaysia), and then the heaps of shredded chicken meat. Since I like my chowders on the brothy side, I went easy on the thickening. I also wanted it creamy, but I was worried that milk would just water down the flavorful stock. Thankfully, just a half-cup of cream was all it needed.
The entire process takes some time, but it's worth it for this serious bowl of chowder: full-bodied from the chicken stock and bacon, brimming with tender meat, and every spoonful loaded with chunky potatoes and corn. Kinda makes me want to turn my chilly air conditioning up to full blast and throw on a nubby sweater.