Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

A few months ago when the weather started to get chilly, my Chief Culinary Consultant began eating a lot of soup for lunch and sometimes for dinner. Some of the popular soup brands have come out with new, updated flavors and one of his favorites has been a chipotle chicken and corn chowder. He’ll throw in a different soup every now and then, but that has been his go-to for quite a few months now. I used to love eating soup, but have gotten away from the canned soups mostly due to the exorbitant amount of sodium they contain, and because they usually leave a nasty after-taste in my mouth for some reason. Most times, I either do homemade soup or none at all. My CCC asked if I could try to recreate his new favorite chipotle chicken and corn chowder, and I was happy to take on the challenge. After tasting the soup, examining its ingredients list and looking back to my archives for similar chowder-style recipes, I came up with this recipe.

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

I held my breath when he took his first bite, not sure how my homemade rendition of his favorite soup would hold up. He declared the soup awesome, one of the best things to come out of my kitchen, and way better than the canned version. Success! Even though I did use some milk and cheese in this recipe, he said it tasted significantly healthier than the store-bought stuff.

There are so many big flavors packed into one little bowl of this soup; you have the combination of red bell and poblano peppers… the chipotle chile and adobo sauce for the smokey, spicy flavor… the cheesy, creamy broth… tender potatoes… crushed tortilla chips for some flavor and texture… lime juice and seasonings… and tons of corn. The soup has just the right amount of spice, that is, it’s noticeable but not at all overwhelming or distracting from the other flavors.

If you’re in need of a hearty bowl of soup to warm your soul this winter, this one will serve you well. No more canned soup here!

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

One year ago: Focaccia Bread

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A thick and hearty soup full of chicken, corn, cheese,
peppers and just the right amount of spice.

Ingredients:

1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 (30-ounce) can sweet corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Chopped cilantro, to garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Remove one chile from the can of chiles and mince it. Remove 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce and set it aside to be used later. You can save the remaining chiles and sauce for another use.

2. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the poblano pepper, red bell pepper, the chile from the can, cumin, thyme and oregano, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peppers become soft. Add the garlic, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

3. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minute, or until there is no longer any visible raw flour. Slowly stir in the milk and chicken broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.

4. Add the potatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife.

5. Add the shredded cheeses a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until the cheese is completely melted.

6. Finally, stir in the chicken, both cans of corn, the tortilla chips, lime juice and the reserved 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the soup is completely heated through. Serve immediately.

Note: If you have leftovers that have been refrigerated and reheated, you may need to thin out the soup with some extra chicken stock, as it may thicken up in the refrigerator.