In a medium Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Drain or spoon off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just begin to become tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the flour, thyme, paprika, and bay leaves. Stir the flour into the vegetables to make a paste and coat them evenly. Cook a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour smell. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until all of the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Uncover the pot and add the potato, half-and-half, and corn. Simmer, uncovered, until the potato is very tender but not yet falling apart, 10 to 12 minutes. If desired, puree about a cup of the soup in a food processor or blender and stir it back into the soup. Discard the bay leaves. Serve garnished with the cooked bacon and some chives or parsley.
Recipe from "Farmhouse Rules" by Nancy Fuller. Copyright (c) 2015 by Fuller Farms, LLC. Used with permission by Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.