I know what you're thinking. Bacon Chowder? I kid you not; this is amazing. Promise.
- 1 lb slab bacon, chopped into squares
- 2 fresh lemongrass stalks, peeled
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease (you get this later in the process)
- 2 cups peeled baked potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 2 - 8 oz bottles of clam juice
- 3/4 cup of chopped zucchini
- 2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced (see below)
- 2 - 13.2 oz cans of light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
First, we start with the bacon. We recommend the Broadbent Hams Pepper Bacon Slab Portions. This is a slab bacon so it allows you to chop it into small squares that you can then cook up in your pan. Do this and toss it into a skillet cooking these until they are golden brown but not fully cooked. Save 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease (its that or use butter if you so choose).
Cut lemongrass stalk in half crosswise; coarsely crush using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Depending on how spicy you want it, slice the Serrano peppers thinly and keep (spicy) or discard (warm and flavorful) the seeds.
In the skillet with 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, add the potato, onion, celery, ginger and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until celery and onion are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemongrass, sugar, fish sauce and clam juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in zucchini, bacon and chiles. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro; remove from heat. Remove lemongrass; discard.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size about 1 1/3 cups)