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Sweet Corn Chowder with Basil and Crumbled Bacon

6 ears sweet corn, shucked

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped

¼ cup celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (½ teaspoon dried)

4 large basil leaves

Cayenne pepper to taste

2 slices cooked bacon

Using a sharp knife, cut corn off cobs and set aside. You should have about 5 cups of corn. Place cobs in large stockpot and cover with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes.

While stock is simmering, heat oil in a separate stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bay leaf and sauté for about 4 minutes until softened but not brown. Add corn, rosemary, and thyme and continue cooking about 3 minutes. Remove corncobs from stock and add 4 cups stock to corn mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer with lid off for 30 minutes.

Remove soup from heat, discarding bay leaf, and let cool slightly. In a blender, puree about 3/4 of the soup and the basil leaves, working in batches if necessary. Return to pot to reheat and season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Spoon into four bowls and garnish with crumbled bacon.

Recipe courtesy of Gena Knox

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