Creamy Potato, Ham, Bacon, and Sweet Corn Chowder

A flavorful dish with roots deep in American culinary tradition.

Chowder is a beloved dish with a rich history, particularly in the northeastern United States, where it has been enjoyed since at least the 18th century. Originally, chowder was a simple fisherman’s stew, made with the catch of the day, potatoes, and onions.

One of the earliest recorded references to chowder is found in “The Boston Evening Post” from 1751, which mentioned a fish chowder recipe. By the 19th century, chowder recipes were well-established and commonly published in cookbooks. These early versions often featured fish as the primary ingredient, but as time went on, regional variations emerged, incorporating different proteins like clams, oysters, and even pork, leading to the diverse array of chowder recipes we have today.

Pairing Suggestions

  • Bread: To complete this hearty meal, pair your chowder with a thick, crusty bread like sourdough or a baguette. Warm it up and serve with a side of butter for dipping.
  • Beer: For a perfect eastern coast beer pairing, consider a classic American Pale Ale. The hoppy and slightly bitter notes of the pale ale complement the richness of the chowder, while its carbonation helps cut through the creaminess. Look for local craft breweries along the eastern coast for some excellent options.

Bacon and Potato Chowder

Photograph | Joerg Beuge


  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
  • 2 cups sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Ground black pepper (for garnish)


  1. In a large pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it becomes crispy. Remove the bacon and set it aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
  2. In the same pot with the bacon fat, add the diced ham, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Sauté them until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the butter to the pot and let it melt. Then, sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and stir to create a roux. Cook for a few minutes until it turns a light golden color.
  4. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add the bay leaf and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Add the diced potatoes to the pot. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender but not mushy.
  6. Stir in the sweet corn, cooked bacon, and the whole milk. Let it simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the soup to thicken.
  7. Pour in the heavy cream and gently stir. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. Once the chowder is heated through, remove the bay leaf.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley and a generous sprinkle of ground black pepper.

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