Hearty and filling, this chunky chowder makes a delightful one-dish dinner. If cutting kernels from ears of corn, hold the cob with its pointed tip up, then cut carefully down the ear and through the kernels with a gentle sawing motion.
If using fresh corn, use a sharp knife to cut corn kernels off the cob; set aside. In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sweet pepper; cook until tender but not browned. Stir in broth, potato, and corn. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl combine half-and-half, flour, the snipped thyme, salt, and black pepper; stir into corn mixture. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 1 minute more. Add chicken and bacon; cook and stir until heated through. If desired, garnish with thyme sprigs.