Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder with Black Beans

Spicy Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder with Black Beans makes for a hearty winter soup that will keep pulling you in for another bowl.

For the most part, I’m not big into spicy food. I don’t go crazy over chicken wings and when we go out for Thai or Vietnamese I stick to the very mild dishes but there is something about the combination of the rich, spicy and smokey flavours of this soup with the sweet bite of corn that keeps me making it again and again, heat and all.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light’s Chicken Tonight cookbook. There are many ingredients that are the same in both recipes but I left out the hominy since  it isn’t a common item in Canada. Ingredients that I added are creme fraiche, sweet corn and black beans.

There are many things in the methodology of the original Cooking Light recipe that I changed because I found the way they did it was cumbersome and overly complicated. The original recipe says to poach the chicken in the soup but I found that to be a pain. I was able to get the soup done, pureed, with the potatoes cooked rather quickly and added the shredded chicken towards the end. I used a leftover, small, whole chicken that I had cooked the day before with a second chicken that we had for dinner that night. I usually grill 3 or 4 chicken breasts and use those. I have also done this with a grilled turkey breast. Don’t have a grill? Simply pan fry the chicken or pop it in the oven.  To make life really simple, you could use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

A major time saver for me was to use my food processor to chop up all the vegetables. Since the soup will be pureed anyway, you needn’t spend much time chopping everything nicely. I cooked half of the potatoes with the vegetables and then pureed the whole lot with my immersion blender. Pureeing the potatoes gives the soup a nice thickness because of the starch. If you don’t have an immersion blender then use a regular blender and puree the soup in batches.

I haven’t even tried to give this to Timothy. It is strictly a Mommy and Daddy meal so far but that means there are lots of delicious leftovers for the fridge and freezer.

Yields 6-8

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder with Black Beans

Spicy chipotle livens up this hearty soup of chicken, sweet corn and black beans.

30 minPrep Time

1 hr, 30 Cook Time

2 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from a can)** or 1 tsp chipotle chili powder or more if you like it really spicy
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup of canned tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (suggest a 1 tsp salt, pinch of pepper)
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 whole cooked chicken, meat shredded or chopped (not the skin and carcass)*
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche or whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 cups sweet corn (frozen)
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • *optional - a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream to top each bowl of soup

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper in a food processor or by hand.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot (one that can hold at least 3 litres or 3 quarts of liquid) and add the chopped vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on medium until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Chop the chipotle chili pepper and add to the cooking vegetables. Add the tomatoes, thyme and oregano as well.
  4. If you are cooking chicken breasts, now would be a good time to start cooking them if you haven't cooked them earlier -- Coat with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a little chipotle powder and grill or bake at 400 degrees F until cooked through.
  5. Peel and cut the potatoes into small bite-size pieces, about 1/2" cubes. Add half of the potatoes to the vegetables and put the other half in a bowl and cover with cold water.
  6. Add the chicken stock, cover the pot and let simmer until the potatoes and other vegetables are very soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes depending on how large you cut the vegetables and potatoes.
  7. Once the stock has heated up, taste it to see if needs any salt. Add salt according to your taste.
  8. When the vegetables are very soft, with an immersion blender, puree the soup until there are no more large pieces. If you are using a regular blender, blend the soup in batches being careful to take the plastic centre out of the blender lid and cover it with a tea towel so you don't have exploding scalding hot soup all over yourself.
  9. Add the rest of the uncooked potatoes (discard the cold water the potatoes were in) to the soup and the rinsed black beans.
  10. While that starts to cook, shred the chicken with two forks or chop the chicken and add it to the soup. Discard the chicken skin and carcass.
  11. When the pieces of potato are fully cooked through, should take about 20 minutes, add the frozen sweet corn and let it cook for 4 or 5 minutes so that the temperature of the soup can come back up.
  12. Stir in the cream or creme fraiche.
  13. Finely chop the cilantro and add three quarters of it, reserving the rest to sprinkle in each bowl as a garnish if you like. Otherwise, just add the whole lot of it.
  14. Stir in the fresh lime juice and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
Recipe Type: Soup

Notes

*Use 2-4 chicken breasts as a substitute for the whole chicken. A rotisserie chicken is a great time saving option. **Since I only use one chipotle pepper at a time, I put a piece of plastic wrap on a small baking sheet, spread the other peppers from the can on the plastic, freeze it and then store it in a freezer bag. This way I can just take one out as I need it.

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