(Yield: 4-6 servings)
1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon
2 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 Tbls. butter
2 Tbls. flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a cast iron pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a cutting board and chop.
Add carrots, celery and onion into pot with bacon grease. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
In the middle of the pot, add butter and flour, stirring vigorously with a fork until a roux forms. Pour in milk and stir to combine.
Add broth, potatoes, corn and bacon, reserving about 1/4 cup of bacon bits for topping, if desired.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add bay leaf.
Let soup simmer until potatoes are softened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm, or freeze for later use.