Do you ever accidentally over-buy sale produce? You get home from the grocery store feeling like the responsible, money-saving adult that you are only to look in your pantry and realize that you have neither the space to store, nor the willpower to consume the 10-pounds of sweet potatoes you just bought. But the whole bag was $2.99! You didn't want to lose money by not buying it.
I get that. I am a compulsive clearance produce purchaser. I am also a person who strongly dislikes letting food go to waste. Combine these traits, and you can bet I've had coleslaw with dinner for a week straight, apples in and on everything, and maybe even broccoli for breakfast a time or two.
I'll admit that not all of my last ditch produce concoctions have been delicious (or even edible... I'm looking at you, lentil loaf), but here's one that pretty much guarantees I will stock my freezer with corn anytime the opportunity presents itself: Chicken Corn Chowder.
You begin this soup by cooking bacon, which is unarguably the best way to start any recipe.
Then you brown chicken in the bacon fat. Then you add onions, celery, and carrots to the bacony chicken fat that's now in your pot. Next, you add garlic. Because garlic belongs in just about everything. Then comes the diced potatoes and corn.
The whole thing is then covered with water, and simmers away until it's all cooked and flavorful and delicious. Finally, you add cream. Because you just can't have chowder without it. And top your bowl with the bacon you cooked, of course. And scallions. Maybe some cheddar cheese, too.
My love for soup is largely based on it being a vessel for toppings.
Chicken Corn Chowder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 strips bacon, diced
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound redskin potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch squares (about 3-4 medium potatoes)
- 1 pound corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt & pepper
For serving: cheddar cheese, scallions, bacon
- Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon, reserving as much rendered fat as possible in the pot, and set bacon aside.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and place in pot. Cook 8 minutes per side, until browned and crisp on the outside. Chicken will not be cooked through at this point - it will finish later. Remove to plate and set aside. You may need to cook chicken in batches as not to crowd.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and season with more salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 8 minutes. Scrape up any browned chicken bits while stirring. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Continue cooking 2 more minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the pot along with the potatoes and corn kernels. Cover with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken thighs to a cutting board and shred. Return to pot along with heavy cream. Add more salt and pepper, to taste, and serve topped with cooked bacon.