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(Or, The World's Best Tasting Healthy Potato Soup)
This is an all day project. It is the easiest way to make a really thick and scrumptious soup, but it takes all day, because the pot does so much of the work for you.
REMINDER - This chowder is made with VERY LITTLE WATER. The potatoes are cooked separate to make sure that it is THAT THICK. If you cook the potatoes with the other vegetables you will have a SOUP, and not a STEW LIKE CHOWDER. So if you want it SUPER THICK, cook the spuds separately.
5 lbs potatoes
Wash them, and put them into the instant pot with ONE AND A HALF CUP of water. Run it on the lowest pressure setting, for about 10 minutes. Alternately, you can bake them, or even boil them, but boiling them will kind of defeat the purpose of making this easy.
When they are done, take them OUT of the pot, and set them somewhere to cool. You can put them in the fridge overnight if you want, I just pop them into a ziplock bag.
After they cool, peel them and chop them into chunks.
1 lb bacon
Lay it out on a cookie sheet. I have LITTLE cookie sheets, so I have to put it on two pieces stacked, all the way across, but lay it out however. Put it in the oven, at 400 degrees, for 20-30 minutes. Thick bacon can take more, and if you have to stack bacon, it can take more time also.
Once it is done, take the bacon out of the grease, and let the bacon cool enough to snip it up (scissors are easiest). Don't snitch. Much.
SAVE THE GREASE. YOU NEED IT.
5 ribs celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
2 pkgs smoked sausage, sliced up (Oscar Meyer Smokies do in a pinch)
1 lb frozen petite corn
1 srick butter
You can do this part in an Instant Pot, or in a crock pot. Run it on a low pressure, short setting in the instant pot, OR put it all in the crock pot, and put it on high for about 4 hours, or low all day, but you need about 2 cups more water if you do it in the crock pot (you need just enough liquid to barely cover the veggies, don't put them to drowning).
Put all those ingredients in. You need to cook them until they are tender.
DON'T add too much water! We do not want to have to drain any off.
The potatoes can be added as soon as everything else is cooked, but NOT BEFORE! It takes too much water if you do, and you don't get a really loaded stew.
Let the potatoes get hot. That means leave it in the crock pot, OR, run another short low cycle on the instant pot.
DON'T ADD MORE WATER!!!
1/3 cup flour (1/2 cup if you had to add water in a crock pot)
Reserved bacon fat, melted (can sub another stick of butter if you must)
I told you that you would need that bacon fat. This is how you get your thickening silky smooth. Mix the flour with the reserved bacon fat. All of it.
STIR this into your vegetables, as soon as the potatoes have heated up and the soup is bubbling.
2 cups milk
Salt to taste
Add the Milk RIGHT AFTER you put in the flour, you'll want to keep it from turning to glue.
Let it heat until it is thickened. If it is in the crock pot, stir it every 15 minutes or so (it takes about 30-40 minutes to thicken and bubble again). If it is in an instant pot, put it on the Sautee setting, and let it heat, stirring every few minutes - CAREFUL, it CAN, and DOES burn if you do not keep it stirred.
Salt it to taste, and serve it up.
You can add CHEESE, either in the pot, as the LAST THING, AFTER it is thickened, OR at the table, in each bowl as you serve it.
You can use dried veggies, and even dried potatoes.
You can use any kind of smoked sausage, even the stuff with ammonia in it because it WILL cook out. We like Falls Brand Smoked Sausage (the BEST, but they really are smoky!), Cloverdale Smoked Sausage, Oscar Meyer Smokies, or even Great Value Smoked Sausage. We don't usually eat Hillshire Farms, Johnsonville, or some other national brands, they have too much ammonia in them, but they will work for this, you just don't get flavor that is as good. Don't let them kid you that if you tell the truth about their product that they can sue, it is not libel or slander if it is true, and at the date of this printing, it is absolutely true. Hey. all you guys who think ammonia has a place in the processing of food, the challenge is on. If your food really is that good, or if you got a clue and it is better now, tell me, I'll test it again! 'Cause really, food is all about what REALLY tastes good, and I am not about to lie about that!
This is really good with venison summer sausage, or pork breakfast sausage subbed for the smoked sausage, with or without the bacon, but if you leave out the bacon you really miss the bacon fat in it.
If you HAVE to, you can sub about 1 cup of REAL bacon bits PLUS 1 stick of butter for the fresh bacon. It isn't as good, but it works in a pinch.
DON'T substitute margarine for butter. The flavor just isn't there, nor is the health benefit. Your body just does not know what to DO with vegetable oils once they've been extracted, nearly so well as it knows what to do with butter and bacon fat, animal fats are ESSENTIAL for nerve and endocrine health! You don't need all that hexane either, your body REALLY doesn't know what to do with IT. (Remember, foods that your body cannot USE well just get stored as fat, and chemicals either leave a trail of damage through you as they exit, or they get caught and stored in fat cells or other cells, and mess up your metabolism, just like ammonia does.) It is about a quarter water anyway, and there's no point adding more water!
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