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Shannon M. Smurthwaite
Sweet corn and bacon chowder. One potato and one small onion finish the smoky flavor of sweet summer corn, bacon, evaporated milk and pepper.

How do you keep the sweet taste of summer lingering while welcoming fall? In two words: corn chowder.

The secret to this tried and true, two-step-in-prep recipe is adding one large, peeled and cubed russet potato and one small diced onion to the bacon just as it finishes crisping in the frying pan. The potato and onion soak up the smoky flavor only bacon can provide while fresh cracked-pepper crowns the combination.

Finish marrying all the flavors in a slow cooker, where you will add corn and milk to the bacon mixture. Stir well, cover. Top this hearty, thick chowder with grated cheddar cheese as you serve. The combination could not welcome fall in any sweeter way.

Sweet Corn and Bacon Chowder

1 pound bacon (can use turkey bacon), cut into 1 inch pieces

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 large or 2 small russet potatoes, peeled, cubed

Pepper to taste

Light salt

1 can (14¾ ounces) cream corn

1 can (15¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained, or 2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 can (12 fluid ounces) whole evaporated milk

Optional: Grated cheddar cheese to top before serving

In large frying pan with lid, cook cut bacon pieces on medium-low heat. Stir to keep cooking even. As bacon starts to crisp, about halfway through the cooking process, add diced onion and potato pieces. Top bacon, onion and potato with pepper; stir well and cover until bacon has finished cooking. The potato and onion may not be completely cooked when the bacon has; they will finish in the slow cooker.

Transfer everything from the frying pan into your slow cooker. Include all the drippings. Add in creamed corn, drained whole-kernel corn and evaporated milk. Lightly salt at this point, however, the bacon is usually well-salted enough. Stir thoroughly and cover. You can set slow cooker at 2 hours on high, but I recommend 4 hours on low. The chowder will thicken and give you 4-6 generous servings. Top with grated cheese. Sweet corn and bacon chowder is also delicious served in bread bowls.

Shannon M. Smurthwaite is a Southern California native, author of "Mormon Mama Italian cookbook," food columnist and freelance writer. Her blog: www.myitalianmama.com. She and her husband, Donald, reside in Idaho. Email: shannonisitalian@gmail.com