Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Chicken and Corn Chowder

Big winner today.

I over-bought sweet corn on the cob this week and was looking for a recipe to use it up. I've made a corn salsa and added corn to black beans so far but I still had corn leftover. This was a great way to use it up and was a HUGE hit with the family.

This soup ends up eating very well for a summer day. Not too thick or hearty but not light enough that you want for more after dinner. The topping of tomatoes, avocado, lime and cilantro really makes the dish. Please, don't leave it out!

Summer Chicken and Corn Chowder
(from here)

4 slices bacon, chopped (about 4 oz)
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken broth (homemade makes the soup!)
2-3 cups cooked chicken (from a standard rotisserie chicken - I used 6 bone-in thighs)
Kernels cut from 3 ears of corn (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste

3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges


Gather your vegetables.

Then get your bacon. I buy bacon "end pieces" at the store. It's cheap and perfect for this type of application where you're just dicing it up anyway.

Weigh out about 4 oz. This is usually about 4 strips of regular thick-cut bacon.

Chop roughly and toss into a pot with a splash of water. This helps the bacon cook evenly.

Turn heat to medium. Also important to start with a cold pan as it helps the fat render evenly.

Cook until nice and crisp.


While that is cooking, prep your chicken.

I just used 6 bone-in thighs and poached them in broth (like this) and used that chicken for the soup and the broth (plus the bones and more veggies) for the stock. Quick and easy.

I also diced the chicken instead of shredding it because I prefer the texture of diced to shredded chicken in soup, but that just me.

You can use any chicken you want so long as it's 2-3 cups, cooked. A store-bought rotisserie chicken would be fine here.


I just made this again and used a rotisserie chicken (since I forgot the photo last time):


Once your bacon is crisp, toss in the diced onion.

Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.

Cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes. I wanted the onions to get some color and sweetness.

Meanwhile, peel and dice your potatoes.

I put them in a bowl of water while I waited for the onions so that they'd stay fresh.

When your onions are turning light brown, add 3 tablespoons of flour. 

You can even double this if you want a thicker soup, more like a traditional "chowder" consistency. This amount of flour gives body and texture but it eats more like a standard soup. Both my wife and I liked the consistency, but if you like a thick soup, you'll need to add more flour at this point but I wouldn't go more than 6 tablespoons.

Stir well to combine.

Keep stirring for 60 full seconds, don't stop.

Add the chicken broth. 6 cups.

Stir well and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.

When you reach a boil, you'll notice it thicken considerably.

Add the potatoes (drain the water first if you did that) and drop the heat to medium to maintain a simmer.

Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 7-10 minutes. Give it a stir every-so-often.

Meanwhile, prep the corn.

Shuck and just slice down the sides of each ear.

It'll make a mess, just do your best to contain it.


I have since just done this in a bowl and the kernels come off right into the bowl. Much less mess!

You can also prep some of your toppings quick - I saved the avocado for last because I didn't want it to turn brown while I waited for my wife to come home.

Dice 3 roma tomatoes.

Small handful of cilantro, about 1/2 cup - chop this up.


When your potatoes are tender add the chicken,

then the corn.

Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Once you reach a simmer, add 1/2 cup heavy cream.

This is optional but adds a bit of richness to the soup.

Season with salt and pepper.

Be generous here. It needs a lot of both. 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to start.

Taste and add a bit more of each in small doses until you dial in the seasoning. I like mine pretty salty and peppery - I actually double this starting amount!

Simmer until it reduces just a bit, 5-10 minutes, tops.

We don't actually want this soup to cook for hours and hours since the potatoes will break down too much. We want everything to retain at least SOME of its form.

Right before service, cut your avocado and lime.

I do the scoring trick for nice big chunks.

Just cut into it with a butter knife...

and scoop it out!

You can mix all of this together into a salsa type thing, but I prefer to keep everything separate for garnishing the soup. That way if you want more of an individual item you can just grab it.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with the tomatoes, avocado, squeeze of lime, sprinkle of cilantro and a dash of salt (this really makes the avocado "pop", for lack of a better word).


Overall this soup was fantastic. Sweet, slightly smoky, nice and rich but at the same time the blend of fresh avocado with the acid from the tomato and lime just perfectly cut through the soup and balanced everything out. It really made a heavy chowder into an almost light feeling meal without feeling hungry after.

This was a great soup and since it was such a big hit, it's going in our "regular" rotation around here.

Also, this makes enough for leftovers. I'd say 6 servings.

Give it a try!



  1. I made this tonight and it was awesome. I left off the chicken because we're trying to cut back on meat (and the avocados because we're out at the moment) and it was still great. Definitely going to make it again. And trust me, I thoroughly shocked that I didn't f**k it up! Tip of the hat to your directions.

    1. Excellent! Glad you gave it a whirl. I'm sure this would be good as a full-on vegetarian offering.

      Also, makes me happy that the directions didn't get a wag of the finger.

  2. I'm going to try this recipe this week. We're GF and so I think I will try to sub the wheat flour for rice flour/cassava...

    1. I think rice flour would work fine. And you don't have to sweat even using it. The starch from the potatoes will thicken it some too. You could also skip adding the flour at the beginning and just do a slurry of a tablespoon or so of cornstarch and water and that'll thicken it up at the end just fine too.

      Let me know how it turns out for you!


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