Corn Chowder...Minus the Corn

For Christmas, I decided to buy Joel a cookbook.  Now, before you all start dissing my gift choice, let me tell you that he wanted that cookbook.  I was sneaky and logged into his amazon account to check out his "to buy" lists.  Lo and behold, The Ski Country Cookbook was on his list.  Anyway, after 2 months of sitting on our shelf, we finally decided to crack the binding of the book and make something from it.  Since Joel planned this week's menu, he put together a grocery list and we went shopping.  Of course, he forgot to put corn on that list, hence the title, Minus the Corn.  All in all, not too shabby!  We enjoyed this soup with a side of these scones.  I'm looking forward to having leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

3 slices Thick Bacon
1 1/2 cups Onion, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 Celery Stalk, finely diced
1 medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded, deveined, and finely diced
4 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
3 cups Corn (obviously, we forgot this)
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk (we used skim)
1 cup Heavy Cream (we used half & half)
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, chopped for garnish
1/2 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped for garnish
*2 Scallions, chopped for garnish (we added)

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the bacon fat and cook, stirring, until softened, 8-10 minutes.  Add the potatoes, broth, water, and thyme and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the corn, milk, cream, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, until warmed through, about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls.  Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the soup.  Garnish with tomatoes, parsley, and scallions, and serve at once.