Summer Corn Chowder

The minute fresh local corn is available at the farmers' market my family bugs me to make my corn chowder. I have to admit, I love it too and nothing says 'lazy summer days are here' more than a big bowl of this delicious soup. If you want to make it even more like a meal, you can add a pound of plump shrimp to the mix for the last 3 or so minutes of simmering. If you don't have access to fresh corn, you substitute with frozen kernels.

Makes 9 cups without shrimp, 11 cups with shrimp

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1 tbsp grape seed oil
4 slices Canadian bacon, diced
3 small red potatoes or Yukon Gold, diced
4 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup small onions, diced
2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
4 tomatoes, diced small
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups low-fat milk
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 lb cleaned large raw shrimp (optional)
2 avocados, diced (optional)

In a large pan, heat the oil and cook the bacon, potatoes, corn and onions for about 10 minutes on medium heat until onions and potatoes have softened a bit.

Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper and continue cooking for another minute.

Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Pour in the milk cook on low heat for 5 more minutes.

If you are using shrimp, add them to the chowder in the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Before serving, stir in the parsley. If you like, top each bowl with some diced avocado.