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Jalapeno Chicken & Corn Chowder

Not too long ago I made Cooking Light‘s Cheddar Chicken Chowder. Although we liked the creaminess of the chowder, John and I concurred that it lacked a complex and exciting flavor profile. I was inspired on the spot to adapt the recipe to better suit our palates. Although not quite masochists when it comes to spicy food, we are not ones to shy away from heat. A collection of different hot sauces grace our refrigerator’s door, our cabinets are stocked with all sorts of spices, and we are more likely to order the “spicy” than “mild” curry dishes at our local Indian restaurant.

In order to elevate the spice level of this chowder, I swapped plain chicken breasts with jalapeno chicken sausage, (I love the Trader Joe’s brand), added a seeded jalapeno pepper, and tossed in some ground cumin, cayenne, and chipotle chili powder. Much better.

The sweet corn and red bell pepper are a welcomed gustatory compliment to the fairly spicy components of the chowder, and the addition of 1% milk yields a surprisingly thick and creamy consistency. This chowder comes together quickly enough to be prepared on a weeknight, and reheats very well as leftovers. At approximately 300 calories per 1 1/2 cup serving, you get a filling one-pot meal packed with veggies, protein, low-fat dairy, and best of all, delicious flavor.

Jalapeno Chicken & Corn Chowder

adapted from Cooking Light‘s Cheddar Chicken Chowder

yields 7 (1 1/2 cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (12 oz) package pre-cooked jalapeno chicken sausage, sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1  cup chopped onion
  • 1  cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (ground red pepper), or more to taste
  • 4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups scrubbed & chopped baby red or yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or more to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken sausage, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add the spices into the mixture, and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn; stir well. Raise stove heat to medium.
  3. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper.

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