Corn Chowder with Walnut Pesto

Cooking With Rania - "Winter Soup Recipes"
KDKA Pittsburgh Today Live 1/11/2012

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Corn Chowder with Walnut Pesto

4 cups frozen corn kernels
1 cup heavy cream
2 sliced bacon – minced
1 onion – medium, finely diced
1 red bell pepper – finely diced
1 Jalapeno – seeded and diced
1 celery stalk – finely diced
1 garlic clove – minced
6 cups homemade chicken stock
3 yellow potatoes – peeled and diced
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese – shredded
Salt to taste

Walnut Pesto (see attached recipe)

Reserve ¾ cup of the corn kernels and puree the rest with the heavy cream in a food processor or blender. Reserve until needed.

Cook the bacon in a soup pot oven medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, jalapeno, celery, and garlic. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the stock and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Using an emersion blender, blend the soup briefly, but not to a complete puree. It’s OK for the soup to show some of the corn kernels and bits of cooked potatoes and vegetables.

Add the pureed corn and cream and the cheese. Warm the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in warmed bowls and drizzle with Walnut Pesto.

Makes 2 quarts

Walnut Pesto:
½ cup shelled walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 fresh basil leaves

Combine all ingredients except for the basil in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the basil and puree briefly. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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