It’s February and typically that means bone chilling cold here in Central Ohio. This year notwithstanding, the tail end of winter is a great time for soup. I’ve been on the soup train a lot lately, making vegetable and then vegetable with beef twice, but I thought I’d try something new.
I have a huge 10-pound bag of Russet potatoes in my kitchen right now and I’m trying to work through them before the eyes pop out and they get gross. I don’t typically buy Russets in bulk but since I’ve happened upon this massive amount of tubers, I’ve been coming up with recipes to use them up.
Today’s creation is Chicken and Corn Chowder. It’s super simple and even tastier.
With this soup, it’s important to check seasoning levels throughout the cooking process. This calls for no-salt broth so it doesn’t have the same sodium kick in other broths and remember, potatoes pull salt out of the liquid they’re cooked in so make sure you check one final time before serving.
A note about heat: I like some kick in the background, so I’ve used Sriracha, or what some people call Cock Sauce (because of the big rooster on the bottle). I’m kind of a late Sriracha convert, but now days, I use it in a lot of things. Sriracha doesn’t have the same vinegar overtone of Tabasco and Tabasco-type sauces, just a warm heat. We had some Sriracha flavored ice cream at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood in Vegas a couple of years ago and we pegged it incorrectly as spicy paprika. So there you go, perhaps it’s more of a paprika flavor. Still, I find it stays subtle in the background but gives me that back of the palate kind of heat without being overwhelming. It’s super cheap, like $3.00 a bottle so if you don’t already have it, pick some up and add a little spice to your life!
Chicken and Corn Chowder
4 slices thick cut bacon (I use the Smokehouse Bacon from Giant Eagle) cut in 1/4 inch strips
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch chunks patted dry with paper towels then seasoned well with Kosher salt and pepper (This equated to 1 whole or 2 half breasts)
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 4-ounce can green chilies
1 14.5 ounce can creamed corn
10 ounces frozen corn
10 ounces frozen white corn
Sriracha sauce, to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
3 cups no-salt chicken broth (homemade is better, but I wasn’t that resourceful)
3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks
3 cups milk (you can whole or save some fat and use 2%, but I wouldn’t recommend skim here)
Salt and Pepper
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional, for garnish)
Thinly sliced green onions (options, for garnish)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced bacon. When the bacon begins to cook, turn the heat down to medium to keep it from burning and so you render out as much fat as possible before it crisps.
When the bacon is brown and crisp, remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and pour out all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to pan and heat until almost smoking.
Brown the chicken in two batches, putting the browned pieces on a plate covered loosely in aluminum foil to keep warm.
Once chicken is removed, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the pot. Add onions and season with salt and pepper, cooking until translucent. Add green chilies and creamed corn, mixing well. After chilies and creamed corn are well incorporated, add frozen corn and cook together until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add Old Bay Seasoning and Sriracha sauce to taste. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.
Add chicken stock and potatoes. Adjust seasoning and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.
To thicken the soup without using flour or cornstarch, put about 1/4 of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree about the same amount, which is what I did.
Return chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Adjust seasoning and serve garnished with cheese, green onions and reserved bacon.
Serve to your loved ones and be a hero!