Oh So Simple Potato & Corn Chowder

or a slow cooker soup base for any season

I believe I have casually mentioned my ongoing love affair with my slow cooker, a bond which has only become closer now that I have entered into the world of mommy-hood.  Slow cookers are good for many things and since I was already on roll this month with two slow cooker recipes in the bag, I thought I would just go ahead and wrap it up on the same theme.  The last two were very hearty dishes, which is great for the blustery weather we are facing in our corner of the world, but not all slow cooker recipes have to be that way.  Soup is an excellent way to use your slow cooker year round without it always being heavy.  So to shine a spotlight on the versatile joy that is the slow cooker, I offer you today a recipe that can be easily modified for year round consumption.

I know, I know, potato and corn chowder sounds like a hearty comfort food, but it doesn't have to be that way.  What I love about this recipe, aside from how easy it is to throw together, is that you don't even have to decide on the consistency until the end.  The more concentrated base can be thinned out with more heavy cream or water if you prefer a lighter soup for warmer weather days.  The lighter soup also reheats nicely without thickening a lot.  If you want a heartier chowder type feel - just start with a half of a cup of heavy cream and go from there.  This can be prepped entirely the night before (with typical pantry staples none the less) and just dumped into the slow cooker in the morning, then it is just two quick steps before dinner and it is done!  Just three steps to yummmm... Here you go:

3 cups rich chicken stock (or 1 heaping tsp chicken base to 3 cups hot water)
1/2 tsp vegetable base (or 1 flavor boost packet)
6 medium sized golden potatoes, peeled and diced
6 oz frozen corn
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried minced onion
kosher salt & freshly cracked pepper
1 cup heavy cream

Hardware: slow cooker and one of the following: immersion blender, blender, food processor, or (in a pinch) potato masher

1. Dump the following into the slow cooker: prepped potatoes, frozen corn, chicken stock.  Stir well to combine.  Add in the vegetable base, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried minced onion.  Stir again to ensure that the flavors combine and get all cozy together.

2. Cover and cook: on low for 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

3. About 30 min before serving, strain out 1/4 of the potatoes and corn and set aside in a bowl. Process the rest until smooth with an immersion blender or one of the other options listed above (remember to allow extra room at the top if using a regular blender or food processor and follow manufacturer instructions to avoid burns).  Add the reserved potatoes and corn back in and stir well.  Add 1/2 cup heavy cream first then add additional cream or water until desired consistency is reached.  Turn the slow cooker to low and allow it to warm back up.  Enjoy!

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