Spicy Corn and Chicken Chowder

I’m not rushing it, but I’m feeling like fall is on the way. Fall makes me want to eat long simmered filling dishes, full of rich flavors that pack a punch with a litte spice. My Spicy Corn and Chicken Chowder is the answer! And, it’s easy enough to make vegetarian, by leaving out the bacon, bacon grease, chicken and chicken stock. Add extra veggies and use vegetable stock to amp up your veggie chowder.

This recipe is for the days when you have a little extra time to chop, prep and simmer a hearty meal for the week or the days ahead. If you want, you can break the prep steps up over a day or two and simply assemble the pre-prepped ingredients on the day you want to cook this satisfying chowder and serve. This chowder freezes well for quick meals later in the week or months ahead. 

I like the idea of a “garnish bar,” so family and friends can top this spicy veggie and chicken chowder the way they like it. At G’s place, you can have it your way.

Peace & Java

Prep Time: 30 min                           Cook Time: 1 hour                        Total Time: 1 hour 30 min

Difficulty: Intermediate                 Servings: 10-12                             Serving Size: 1 1/2  cups  

Yield: about 3 quarts     


INGREDIENTS:

2 cups roasted chicken, chopped

4 slices center cut bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped

2 tablespoons reserved bacon grease

2 cups grilled corn, cut off the cob, about 3-4 large ears

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped small

1 medium sweet onion – like Vidalia chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery including celery leaves, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

4 wedges laughing cow spicy pepper jack cheese

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups fat-free half and half

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice – Essence

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

non-stick olive oil cooking spray

Optional Garnishes: avocado, bacon, lime wedges, green onion, and seasoned oyster crackers




DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°

1.Cook the bacon, drain on a paper towel. When cool, chop and set aside as a garnish. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease to carmelize the onion.

2. Season the diced sweet potato with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and toss to coat. Roast for 8-10 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. Mash half of the sweet potato and set aside.

3. Heat the reserved bacon grease in a 3-4 quart heavy pot. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until soft, brown and carmelized about 15-20 minutes

4. Add the carrots, red and green bell pepper, celery to the onion. Stir to combine. Add the flour and cook 2-3 minutes until the mixture begins to smell nutty and brown lightly.

5. Season the floured veggies with thyme, Cajun spice, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir the veggies and seasonings to combine. Add the tomatoes with green chilies, diced and mashed sweet potato and corn to the other veggies and cook 2-3 minutes.

6. Add chicken stock, stir the mixture, cover and bring to a boil, about 5-7 minutes.

7. Remove the lid from the pot, reduce heat to a simmer. Add the half and half, and the chicken. Stir to combine. Taste the chowder and adjust seasoning as needed. Simmer with the lid on covering about 3/4 of the pot for 10-15 minutes.

8. Serve with desired optional garnishes and enjoy!!


NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: Divide the prep steps between a day or two to speed up the cooking process: Day 1-Roast the sweet potato and smash half the sweet potatoes; grill the corn and remove from the cob. Wash and chop the veggies and refrigerate. 

Use leftover roast chicken or take help from your supermarket and purchase a rotisserie chicken.

No fresh corn on hand, no worries, frozen corn is your friend!

No Laughing Cow? substitute jalapeno cream cheese or 4 ounces cream cheese and about 1-2 tablespoons to taste, pickled jalapeno, diced.

To make this chowder vegetarian, omit the bacon and chicken and use vegetable stock.

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