Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil to a large stock pot on medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chicken. Brown on all sides, and then remove the meat to a plate. Lower the heat slightly and add the onions, thyme and bay leaves. Season onions with salt and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is tender, about 4 minutes more. Take care not to burn the garlic. Return the chicken back to the pot and add the stock. Raise the heat, bringing to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the potatoes and frozen corn and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer approximately 30 more minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, make a paste by combining with the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter and the flour in a small bowl and set aside. Once the potatoes are tender, be sure to remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves and discard. Lower the heat slightly and add the ½ & ½, cream and the flour paste in small amounts. Whisk to allow the flour to blend into the chowder and thicken it. Taste; and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer the chowder to serving bowls and enjoy with some crusty bread!
This chowder pairs well with a creamy chardonnay, such as La Crema.