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A Taste Of Summer- Crab & Corn Chowder

Corn, crab and chowder— a trio of words that make me happy. Given the snow, clouds and wind that have taken hold in Bayfield, corn chowder was a little taste of warm summer days that are sure to make an appearance, sometime before August. This batch passed the 'Meghan' test— she's a bit of a chowder connoisseur and gave this chowder two thumbs up. It's lighter than my favorite chowder (recipe here), a nice change as the snow melts and mud season enters the picture.

Corn and Crab Chowder

4 slices of bacon, diced
2 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red or orange pepper, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or low sodium
1 1/2 cup red or Yukon potatoes, diced
4 corn on the cob, corn kernels removed and cobs reserved
2 cups frozen corn
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 pound of fresh crab, picked over for shells

Preparation
Place the corn cobs and the milk in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the cobs and set the milk aside. Place the bacon in a sauté pan and sauté until cooked but not crisp. Remove cooked bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the butter, onion, pepper, carrots, celery and garlic to the bacon pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth a little at a time and combine until the mixture is smooth. Add the potatoes, increase the heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the corn (frozen and fresh from the cob), seasonings and reserved milk, bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and fold in the crab. Simmer for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, taste for seasoning and serve immediately.