When you are in denial that the seasons are changing, enjoy a little taste of summer with grilled chicken corn chowder.
Late summer corn
Corn to me is the taste of summer. The idea of corn conjures up images of barbeques, picnics, and outdoor eating. Summer communal eating often involves corn on the cob, easy to hold while balancing a paper plate of your lap.
But now we are at the intersection of seasons when it is still warm during the day, with a golden tone to the sunlight. In the evenings, autumn makes its presence known with cooler temperatures and early sunsets. Grilled chicken corn chowder is the perfect gateway soup for this time of year. We still have the sweetness of late summer corn but the heartiness of a chowder.
Grocery store dilemma
I go to the grocery store a lot. Pretty much every day I am at one of the several stores that I purchase from, especially when I am teaching cooking classes. But I get a lot of inspiration from grocery stores. A new shipment of a vegetable, at the peak of freshness, and I'm brainstorming.
But once in a while, especially when it is time to figure out what is for dinner, I hit the wall. Stumped, walking around, basically mouth breathing, undecided. This is when the chicken section of the deli comes in handy. I think everyone knows the beauty of a rotisserie chicken. Dinner in no time!
Go your own way
You decide what type of chicken you want in the chowder. I think the grilled flavor adds a little dimension to the chowder
If you prefer rotisserie chicken or a spicier roasted flavor, go for it. If time is not an issue and you don't have to buy grocery store chicken, you can always roast your own. It is all up to you.
Once you decide the style of chicken, then you are ready to start the chowder. To grill the corn, I put the cobs on top of the burner with the flame high, rotating until the corn is grilled. Maybe you prefer to not grill the corn. That's fine.
The base of the soup is made by sweating the vegetables in butter for a couple of minutes. Then add the flour to create a roux.
After cooking the flour-covered vegetables for about 4 minutes, add the stock slowly. If you add it all at once, the chowder will have lumps in it. Add the milk, potatoes, and corn cobs with the thyme and bay leaves.
Now you can rest while the potatoes cook through. Occasionally stir the chowder so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the stockpot. When the potatoes are soft, add the chicken and corn and adjust the seasoning. Continue heating for about 5 minutes and you are done!
When I am not ready to give up on summer but the nights have a little chill to them, the grilled chicken corn chowder is a welcome dinner.
Grilled Chicken Corn Chowder
- 4 chicken breasts, 1 pound grilled (approximately 4 cups pulled chicken)
- 1 ½ cups celery, 5-6 stalks chopped
- 1 ½ cups leeks, 2 leeks sliced
- 3 cups potatoes large dice
- 5 ears corn grilled over the flame of a burner
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups whole milk
- After grilling the corn, cut the kernels off the cob. Reserve the cobs for later.
- In the stockpot over medium heat, add the butter. When melted, add the celery and leeks. Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes until the leeks have softened and the celery is still green.
- Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. You are making a roux at this point. Continue to stir for about 4 minutes. If the flour starts to turn brown, take off the heat.
- Add the stock to the pan, ½ cup at a time, stirring. This will keep the flour from clumping.
- Add the milk to the stock and increase heat to medium-high. Now add the potatoes, the corn cobs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf to the pot. The cobs will release more corn flavor to the chowder as it cooks.
- After about 15 minutes, check the potatoes for doneness. If a knife slides into the potato easily, they are done. If not, continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the chowder does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the potatoes are done, remove the cobs from the pot. Add the corn and chicken to the chowder. Heat for another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste to the chowder. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
- The chowder is now ready to serve!