Spicy Chicken-Corn Chowder

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped red sweet pepper
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1-2 fresh jalepeno peppers, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves

In a 5-6 quart Dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. Remove with spoon; set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Add chicken to pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Stir over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink; remove. Add sweet onion and pepper to pan. Cook and stir until tender. Add jalapenos and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes. Stir in flour. Cook and stir 1 minute. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender; stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken, corn, cream, cayenne, and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes; stir occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Top with jalapeno slices, if desired.

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