Healthy Corn Chowder
At this point in the year, I need Healthy Corn Chowder. Without it, I would curl into a ball with two dozen snowball cookies, then wake up four hours later in a cloud of powdered sugar, sticky tear marks, and shame. ‘Tis the season for Ben’s final exams.
Finals season begins to drizzle in early November, then escalates to a full-scale monsoon by Thanksgiving. On the weekends leading up to exams, I drop Ben (my law school hubby) off at the library at 9 a.m., then pick him up at 10:30 p.m. In law school, a single exam defines your semester grade, and your grades define your job prospects. Studying matters. This simple (if deranged) reality should be enough to prevent me from depleting our robust supply of chocolate, cheese, and wine in sub-45 minutes.
It is. Most days. For the other days, there is Healthy Corn Chowder.
Healthy Corn Chowder is a creamy, comforting soup that soothes my heart on cold winter days when the wind blows too harshly, the sun goes down too early, and Ben arrives home too late. Despite this blog’s title, I don’t write much about Ben’s long study hours because, while it’s fun to share the silly stories with you (Ben and my reoccurring fights about glitter; his take on my blog props), admitting that I struggle with how much we are apart this time of year is challenging. To Ben’s credit, the spare time he does have, he spends with me—there simply isn’t much spare time to, well, spare.
Ben’s long hours in the library over the past six weeks have brought a few positives. Because our time together is limited, we are more intentional. We turn off the TV during dinner and focus our attention on each other. I’ve spent more time with new friends I’ve made in Madison, taken trips to visit old friends in the Twin Cities, and used Ben’s absence as permission to treat myself to ridiculous spreads like this for breakfast.
Plus, Ben and I now have a phenomenal excuse to reward ourselves with two plates of a local Madison hotspot’s Thursday night special: perfectly pillowly gnocchi in sage brown butter. That’s right, Ben finishes his last exam of the semester today! P-A-R-T-Y. Watch out library: I’m taking back my man.
The next time you are feeling low, please make yourself a big, warm bowl of this Healthy Corn Chowder; it will patch you right back up and soothe your aching heart. Healthy Corn Chowder comes together in 20 minutes, tastes creamy and rich (a necessity for pick-me-up food), and is good for you too.
The inspiration for this Healthy Corn Chowder is an old recipe belonging to a dear friend’s mom. I’ve kept my favorite parts of it (the red peppers, sweet corn, and rosemary), but added an extra kick of cayenne, chicken to make it heartier (vegetarians, feel free to omit), and Greek yogurt to make it lusciously creamy. Frozen corn in place of fresh keeps this recipe budget-friendly, accessible in non-summer months, and freaky-fast to prepare. No matter how bad a day I am having, Healthy Corn Chowder improves my attitude about life.
Keep the snowball cookies for dessert and reach for a bowl of Healthy Corn Chowder instead. Waking up in a cloud of powdered sugar isn’t nearly as alluring as it seems. Trust me.
Healthy Corn Chowder
A thick, comforting, and healthy corn chowder with shredded chicken, red bell pepper, rosemary, and a kick of cayenne. Greek yogurt makes this corn chowder taste rich, while keeping it healthy. The entire pot comes together in 20 minutes, makes fabulous leftovers, and is guaranteed to cheer you up on a chilly day.
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (approximately 8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 32 ounces frozen corn, thawed
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, divided.
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (non-fat, 2% or whole, depending upon your preference)
- Cook and shred chicken breast, if not already complete. (My preferred method is oven roasting: Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.) When cool enough to handle, shred and set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium. Sauté onion until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Add corn and cook 3 minutes, until lightly sautéed. Add 2 cups chicken stock, stir to incorporate, then transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree, leaving the chowder fairly chunky. Repeat with second half.
- Stir in the remaining 1 cup chicken stock, bell pepper, rosemary, cayenne, Greek yogurt, and chicken. Heat through. Serve warm with additional Greek yogurt, as desired.