I have a good friend who is a true southern cook. Everything she makes is really amazing and tasty from her corn bread to sweet potato fritters.
One night I had her over to my house for dinner and I was making corn chowder. It was coming together really well, but something was missing. I knew that my soup was lacking that certain something. When my friend got there I asked her for her opinion and do you know what she said, “have you tried adding cream cheese?”
I quickly added in a few ounces of cream cheese (I always keep a few boxes in the fridge because you never know when you’ll need to whip up a batch of cream cheese icing). And what do you know; it was amazing. The cream cheese added a little richness and depth.
Now, whenever I’m trying to jazz up a recipe that lacks a little je ne sais quoi I add in a little cream cheese and it does the trick. Cookie dough not quit right, add cream cheese. Pasta need a little something, add cream cheese. I do at least use fat free cream cheese to keep the calories down.
To make my southwest corn chowder with cream cheese first roast a couple of poblano peppers. They are not spicy like jalapeno peppers but have a nice smoky flavor. To roast them I stick them on a cookie sheet under my oven’s broiler for about four minutes per side or until the skin is blackened. When the skin on both sides is black I remove them from oven and place into a zip lock bag. I let them set for about five minutes or until cool enough to handle. I rub the blackened skin off of each pepper with a dry paper towel then remove seeds and stem and chop up the remaining meat of the pepper.
In a large soup pot heat olive oil and add chopped onions. Cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in chicken pieces, green chilis, and chopped peppers. Stir until heated through. Pour in cream corn and drained corn kernels. Add in broth and milk. Bring soup to a simmer. Add cream cheese and stir until combined. Add in thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Let soup simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour (or whatever you have time for). The longer it simmers the move the flavors will evolve. When ready to eat ladle into bowls and top with bacon and green onions.
This soup is a great balance between sweet and salty and spicy. I usually try not to go back for seconds but I did have two bowls of this! It’s the perfect soup to slurp on during the cold winter months.
Do you have a favorite go-to ingredient like me and my cream cheese? Leave a comment and let us know!
Healthy Southwest Corn Chowder
2 Poblano peppers
1 Yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon EVOO
4 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Cups chopped chicken breast
3 Cans kernel corn, drained
3 Cans cream of corn
1 Can green chilis
2 Cups chicken broth
1 Cup skim milk
4 oz fat free cream cheese
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
4 slices of bacon, chopped for garnish
2 green onions, chopped for garnish
1. Place peppers on a cookie sheet and put under oven broiler. Let set under broiler for about four minutes, or until the skin is blackened. Flip and blacken other side. Remove from oven and place into a zip lock baggie for five minutes. When pepper is cool enough to handle rub the blackened skin with a paper towel to remove all blackened areas. Remove seeds and stem. Chop peppers and set aside.
2. Add olive oil to bottom of soup pot and heat well. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and golden. Add peppers, green chilis, and chicken and cook until warm.
3. Stir in cans of corn and creamed corn. Pour in broth and milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Add cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is dissolved. Add in thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. You can serve when hot or let it simmer for 30 minutes to an hour to really let the flavors soak in. When ready to eat ladle soup into bowls and top with bacon pieces and green onions. Dig in!