Once in my life I ate Chicken Corn Chowder and I found it to be too bland to be interesting. Years have passed and now I believe it is time to make this dish properly, and that means delicious. As usual I researched the Internet and a few cookbooks and I developed my own version … One that attempts to bring together the best of all that I found.
So, what is the best? To begin, bacon is a must, though many recipes do not call for bacon. So it is with various other ingredients, and what I decided was to put all the ones together that made sense, i.e., complementary tastes, and exclude the so-called outliers, like squash.
The bottom line is my first attempt at making this dish was quite successful. I am pleased. I have no changes to make. Even better, fall will be here soon and this chowder is a great dish on a cold day.
6 slices of bacon, fried then broken into pieces
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 sweet red or orange or green pepper, or a mixture, cleaned and diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
¼ cup of flour
2, 14 oz. cans of chicken broth
1 ½ lbs. of diced pre-boiled chicken breast
1 large russet potato cut into small slices or ½ inch cubes
4 large ears of corn, blanched with the kernels cut off and chopped, or two, 15 oz. cans of creamed corn
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of milk
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (just use a few sprigs during cooking, then remove them)
2 tsp. fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. of Tabasco sauce (optional)
Pre-boil the boneless, skinless chicken breasts for ten minutes on medium heat. Rinse the partially cooked chicken breasts in cold water to remove cooking scum and then chop them into ½" cubes or thin slices and set them aside.
Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Break up the bacon after it is cool enough to handle into small pieces.
Keep the bacon fat in the pot. Add the butter to the pot and melt it on medium high heat.
Add the chopped onion and the chopped sweet pepper and sauté on low heat until the onions are soft, about ten minutes.
Add the salt, the pepper, the garlic and the flour and stir to mix well and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, the diced potato, the thyme, and the cumin and bring the pot contents to a boil on high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for ten minutes.
Add the corn, the cream, the shredded cheese and the milk and bring the pot contents back to a simmer.
Add the chicken and the bacon pieces. Simmer for fifteen minutes.
If you used sprigs of thyme remove and discard them.
Add the Tabasco sauce if wanted and mix well.
Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro.
This chowder is a complete and very satisfying meal except for possibly adding a light side salad.
Serve it with oyster crackers or Keebler® Club Crackers and butter.