The other key flavor comes from bacon fat. Now, I hope you've been saving your bacon fat, but if you haven't it's time to start. I've written about this before, but as part of my effort to eat less meat, I also try to make the most of the meat we cook. That means stock with leftover bones, and saving the fat when we cook bacon. It's as simple as that - next time you make bacon, simply pour the fat from the pan into a jar and refrigerate it. You can add to the jar each time you make bacon, and then use the fat in place of butter or oil when you want to add some smoky bacon flavor to a dish. Easy, right? Of course, if you don't already have a jar full of this in your fridge, a couple pieces of bacon will do just fine. Butter works too, if you want to make this a vegetarian meal.
2 ears of corn
1 quart vegetable stock
3 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons bacon fat (or butter, or two strips of bacon)
4 russet potatoes, cubed
1 tsp tumeric
2 10 oz bags frozen corn, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh red chiles, diced (or 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 pint heavy cream
Slice kernels off corn. If you need a simple way to do this that doesn't make a huge mess, check Rachael Ray's tip. It's life changing. (That might be hyperbolic but it's certainly a nifty trick.) Set fresh corn kernels aside and save the cobs.
Heat vegetable stock, corn cobs, and thyme in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat bacon fat in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium. Add potatoes to pot and stir to coat. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Stir in turmeric and cook about 30 seconds more or until fragrant. Remove the cobs and thyme sprigs from the vegetable stock, then add the stock and frozen corn to the pot with the potatoes. Bring this mixture to a simmer, then cook until potatoes are very tender. About half an hour or so.
To prepare the garnish, add fresh corn kernels and chiles and cook on medium high heat until charred. Add minced garlic and thyme and cook another 30 seconds, Set chile thyme mixture aside.
Once potatoes are tender and soup is bubbling, turn heat to low and slowly add cream, stirring constantly. Cook for another couple minutes, stirring constantly, until soup is just heated through but not boiling. Season with salt to taste. Serve soup with a garnish of the chile thyme mixture and a good dose of freshly ground black pepper.