I do this whole recipe in my soup pot.
Sauté 6 slices of bacon. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
Sauté in the bacon drippings:
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 cups raw diced potatoes
Allow onions and celery to get transparent, but do not brown.
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 cup water
(Okay, it’s not part of the recipe, but go ahead and shake some garlic powder or garlic salt over it all.) 🙂
Simmer until potatoes are done. Crumble the bacon (if you have not eaten it) and add to pot. Also, 1-1/2 quarts of milk.* Heat to just below the boiling point. Float 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine on top. Cover and let stand 30 minutes before serving. You might like to reheat a bit first. If too thick, add more milk.
*For a thick, rich texture, use cream or half-and-half. I think it tastes just as great with 2% or even 1% milk.
For Potato & Ham Soup, add 1-1/2 cups of diced cooked ham.
For Corn Chowder, decrease potatoes to 1-1/2 cups and add one medium can of creamed corn.
For Fish Chowder, add cooked, flaked mild white fish (leftover from dinner a night or two earlier)
For Vegetable Chowder, sauté and add 2 cups shredded cabbage, 1 cup sliced carrots and 1/4 cup chopped green pepper.
For Clam Chowder (New England style), add liquid from 2 cans of minced clams at same time as you add the water. Later, add the minced clams along with the crumbled bacon.