Writing a weekly blog post has its drawbacks. I love developing recipes, I spend weeks working on them, sometimes years actually. But I don’t always have an amazing story to tell. No deep childhood memory or lesson I learned on my travels. I just know it’s a good recipe and I want to share it. This is one of those recipes. I love a rich, creamy and comforting soup in the winter, chowder, cheesy filling bowls of warmth. So I knocked this up, it took a few tries to get something special (though I enjoyed every iteration). It started pretty basic, but swapping out some broth with a Mexican beer gives it a little zip. I tried different cheeses, but really liked the balance of a pre-shredded mix of Mexican cheeses, which is not usually the way I go, but it melted perfectly with a nice tang. A little hint of spice adds interest. It can be a fun interactive meal – lay out some extra cheese, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, even avocado chunks or some salsa. So there you go. I hope you enjoy this hearty bowl as much as I do.
Cerveza Chicken Corn Chowder
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chile powder
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 12 ounce bottle lager beer, preferably Mexican like Sol or Pacifico Clara
½ cups half and half
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 cups frozen corn kernels
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the chicken breasts in a small baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (165°internal temperature). Shred the cooked chicken with two forks and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté the onions until they are soft and transparent and just beginning to take on some brown color. Add the garlic and cook a further minute, then sprinkle over the cumin and chili powder and a generous pinch of kosher salt and cook about 30 seconds until the spices are fragrant. Add the diced chiles, tomatoes, chicken stock and beer and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low. At this point, I like to give the soup a little whir with the immersion blender to break down the tomatoes and onions a touch, but it is not required. Measure out 1/2 cup of the cheese and set aside. Stir in the half and half and heat through. Do not boil the soup, but when it is steaming, stir in the rest of the cheese until it is melted. Add the corn and the shredded chicken and gently heat through.
Serve the top sprinkled with a little extra cheese, some chopped cilantro and a wedge of lime.