Craving Spicy Corn Chowder

At close to 5 months pregnant I'm striving for easy meals. There is nothing better to me than a bowl of soup and some warm homemade bread. I have been craving corn. Normally, I don't care for corn but apparently the baby does. I'm glad I listened because this vegetarian chowder really hit the spot!

Spicy Corn Chowder
(makes 4 hearty servings)

2 TBS olive oil plus a little extra for drizzling
4 cloves garlic (just peel & smash w/ the side of a knife) I used a few cloves of roasted garlic that I had in my fridge
1/2 of an onion, peeled
24 oz of frozen corn
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp thyme
a couple dashes of hot sauce
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup half & half
salt & pepper to taste

I'm not kidding when I call this an easy meal. In a stockpot over low heat add the olive oil. Toss in the garlic and the onion, don't even bother chopping the onion. It'll get soft and go through the food processor later. Turn to medium and heat for about 3 minutes just to get the juices flowing. Add the 24 oz of corn. I buy big 36 oz bags from the grocery store so I used a food scale to weigh it out. Sprinkle the spices (paprika, red pepper flakes, thyme, and hot sauce) onto the corn. Pour the stock on top. Stir.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the half and half. Simmer for an additional 25-30 minutes. The liquid should reduce a bit during this time.
At the end of the hour, use a slotted spoon to pull the corn kernels, onion and garlic out and carefully spoon them into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Leave just the liquid in the stockpot.

Process the corn you spooned into the food processor until smooth about 2 minutes.

Add the smooth corn back into the liquid in the stockpot. If necessary heat on low to a serving temperature. I serve this with a drizzle of olive oil, some thyme & hot sauce on top. Enjoy!

My husband actually used the phrase, "I can't believe I'm saying this but you don't miss the meat in this." A lot of corn chowders involve bacon but I was just too lazy to do an extra step tonight! I may try making this without the dairy so that I can pressure can some for the pantry. When that experiment takes place I'll let you know how it turns out.

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