Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder
I don’t know about you, but for me soup is one of those foods I can eat year round. Never mind if it’s 100+ degrees outside or we’re 3 feet deep in snow, I can always go for a big hearty bowl of soup.
Soup is relatively inexpensive to make, extremely versatile, portable, and doesn’t mind if you add to it fresh, frozen, or canned ingredients. It always seems to turn out just right!
When we’re talking about nutritionally balanced soups, the best ones share a few important components:
- NSVs aka your Non-Starchy Vegetables – contain filling fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and FLAVOR. Some examples include:
- lettuce greens, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, leeks, and beets – just to name a few!
- Protein – provides lasting power to help keep you full. Protein is important for muscle growth and development, the repair and reproduction of new cells, and for the creation of hormones, enzymes, and other body chemicals. Can be animal or plant based.
- Complex Carbohydrates – these are your grains such as quinoa and whole wheat pasta or starchy veggies like potatoes, beans, and legumes, They provide filling fiber as well as their own range of important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for our brain, blood, and entire body.
Chicken corn chowder is a favorite choice this time of year. It uses produce in the peak of its season and is both rich in flavor and yet light enough to enjoy while we’re waiting for that fall weather to set in.
Our chowder swaps out some traditional ingredients high in calories and fat for lighter alternatives, but trust us, you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything!
Nutrition Notes: To reduce fat and calories, we swapped out heavy cream with low-fat milk. To replace the richness that the cream traditionally adds, we first brown our chicken and then some *uncured turkey bacon to build layers upon layers of delicious flavor!
Corn contains two antioxidants known as carotenoids which have been shown to protect and improve our eye health. Potatoes offer a rich source of potassium which can help regulate the body’s fluid and electrolyte balance and also contains a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
*PRO TIP: when choosing lunchmeat, bacon, sausage, and other processed meats, it is important to look for varieties that are UNCURED. Cured meats have been linked to cancers and are considered to be a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization (good Q&A here). If you see the words “sodium nitrate” and/or “sodium nitrite” (you won’t see them by themselves) in the ingredients of a processed meat, do yourself a favor and put it back!
This recipe is perfect for cooking ahead and freezing for busy weeks when you don’t have time to spend in the kitchen. We started with raw chicken breast but you can use any cooked chicken that you have available. Really in a time crunch? Grab a rotisserie chicken! We won’t tell.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced (we like to use rainbow carrots for that extra POP of color and different phytochemicals!)
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 1/3 cups of corn or approx. 2 ears of corn, shucked
2 russet potatoes, washed and diced
Fresh jalapeño slices (optional)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/3 cups 1% milk or milk of preference
1 lb chicken breast
2-3 slices nitrite-free turkey bacon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Green onion, as garnish
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium. If using raw chicken, add to pot, careful not to overlap. Brown the first side for 3-4 minutes. You will know when it’s ready to flip hen the chicken easily lifts off the pot and is slightly golden. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove from pot, cover, and set aside for the moment. Note: chicken WILL NOT be fully cooked at this stage. You will finish cooking chicken a later point. (Why not just leave the chicken in you ask? When using a lean cut of poultry such as the breast, you can quickly dry out your chicken if you leave it in the pot the entire time the soup cooks. By browning the chicken and then temporarily removing it, you add a rich layer of flavor and avoid drying out your protein). But, we digress….
Once your chicken is removed from the pot, add your onion, garlic, turkey bacon, salt, pepper, and herbs. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until onions become translucent and bacon is fully cooked. Next, add in your carrots, celery, bell peppers, and jalapeño; sauce for another 3-4 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a simmer. At this point you can use your spatula to “deglaze” your pot. (Deglaze is a fancy word for removing all of the flavorful remnants left behind from cooking your chicken and bacon). Once the pot is deglazed add your chicken breast back into the pot. Continue simmering for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken (again!) and let sit for 10 minutes prior to breaking into smaller pieces.
Remove soup from heat and add corn, milk, and chicken pieces; stir well. At this point your soup is done! Serve with green onions and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (makes 6-8 servings)
Calories – 275 Fat – 6g Carbohydrates – 27g Protein – 28g Fiber – 2g