Potato and Corn Chowder with Chicken Ceasar Salad

At Martha’s Market a few weeks ago I discovered Frontier Soups. It is a company that makes dry soup mixes and they are wonderful! You can order them online or you can look at local retailers. I know that Whole Foods carries the soups. Tonight I am making perhaps the simplest meal you can make. It is Illinois Prairie Corn Chowder with a chicken Caesar salad (which is a salad bag mix).

All you have to do is get the soup mix and a Dole Caesar salad bag (I think Dole has the best dressing and I particularly love their Ultimate Caesar salad mix).

I basically followed the directions on the soup mix but I changed a few things. I used 1 ½ cups of half and half and ½ cup 2% milk, instead of the 2 cups of cream that it calls for. I also added an extra 2 cups of frozen corn (since fresh isn’t in season). The directions say to peel the potatoes, but I left the skins on mine. I also wanted my soup a little thicker so I added a little extra milk that I mixed with cornstarch. Also, I added garlic powder, lots of salt and pepper to the soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Dole Ultimate Caesar salad mix
  • 1 chicken breast
  • A few shakes of each: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
  • Olive oil (about 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 bag of Frontier Soups Illinois Corn Chowder Mix
  • Extra ingredients that the soup calls for: 2-3 white potatoes (I used about 5 small ones), 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, 2 cups cream or milk, 8 cups low sodium chicken broth.
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup milk
  • 2 -3 tbsp. salt (I know it’s a lot but you have to flavor the potatoes and the corn)
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded (for garnish)

Directions

Wash potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch pieces. Put them into a large (at least 12 cup) pot. Pour in 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 5 minutes and then add the ingredients in the soup mix bag. Lower heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Marinate the chicken in paprika, garlic powder, olive oil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a sauté pan, add a little olive oil (maybe 1 tsp.) over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add the chicken breast (I cut mine into half lengthwise, so it will cook and cool more quickly). Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is browned and then flip the chicken and repeat. Set aside and let cool.

Add the 2 cups of cream (or milk and cream mix) and the fresh or frozen corn kernels to the soup. Let cook on low, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, until slightly thickened. I found that mine did not thicken as much as I had hoped, so I mixed 1 tsp. of cornstarch into ¼ cup cold milk and added that to the soup and stirred.

Cut the chicken into thin slices. Pour the contents of the salad bag into a bowl and toss together. Put chilled chicken on top and serve alongside the soup.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup before serving. Garnish with cheddar or Monterey jack cheese.

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Smokey Corn Chowder

I found a great new blog called Bev Cooks. She has lots of wonderful recipes and this was one of them. I did, however, change a few things (I added cheddar and flour, didn’t use as much smoked paprika and next time I will just use regular paprika). I was also thinking of adding black beans next time. You could always grill or sauté up some shrimp to throw on top for a full meal. OR if you were feeling extra fancy, you could serve this as a gazpacho-type hors-d’oeuvre. I would just puree the whole soup until thin, serve in a double shot glass, and top with a few bacon bits.

Ingredients (makes about 8 cups of soup)

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 10 slices of bacon
  • ½ tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 ¼ cups half and half
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 5 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • A sprinkle or red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Cut up the onions into ½ inch pieces and mince the garlic. Cut the fresh corn off the cob. Cook bacon until crunchy and set aside. Reserve a little bacon grease. Sauté the onions on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the butter and corn. Stir to combine with the onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer the corn mixture to a large pot. Add the chicken stock, half and half, flour, smoked paprika, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir around. Let cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After about 15 minutes, use a hand immersion blender to slightly blend the soup. You still want it to be chunky, so just pulse it a few times. If you do not have a hand immersion blender, ladle out 2 large scoops of the soup and mix in a blender. Since the soup is hot, when you put it in the blender cover with a hand towel instead of the top so that the top does not blow off and burn your face. That would be no good. If you do use a regular blender, transfer the soup back into the pot. Let cook for a few more minutes. Serve the soup and garnish with sour cream, bacon crumbles, and extra cheddar. Maybe some freshly cracked pepper.