I’d never given much thought to the Pioneer Woman. If you don’t know, she’s a blogger-cum-Food Network star who rose to fame with an immensely popular food website…typical Net 2.0 success story. I’ve tried to watch her show a couple of times and to be honest it’s just not my favorite. Her sense of humor doesn’t translate to TV and her husband never thanks her for slaving away in her Wyoming kitchen all day which really gets my goat. She seems like a perfectly nice person but I just didn’t get the appeal, if we’re being honest.
That is, until I saw her make this Corn and Cheese Chowder. This I could get behind. So I went to the blog and looked up the recipe and, you guys, she’s REALLY, REALLY FUNNY. Turns out she’s just far more likable in blog form than on a TV screen! She duped me. Food Network ruins everything.
I made this chowder with a few alterations last weekend and picked up a couple of small bread bowls at my grocery store’s bakery for serving – it was more than a hit. With soup weather dwindling before our eyes I suggest you make this chowder ASAP. And go read Pioneer Woman’s blog while you’re at it. (But don’t stop reading this one.)
CORN,CHEESE, & CHICKEN CHOWDER
original recipe courtesy The Pioneer Woman
makes about 6 cups or more
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 whole onion, diced small
2 whole bell peppers, diced very small (I like red and yellow)
6 ears corn, kernels sheared off
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade
2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup milk, one cup cream)
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
optional: bread bowls, bread for croutons
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat then add in the chicken breast strips. Season with salt and pepper and cook until done or almost done, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the chicken to cool until you can cut it, then chop into bite-sized chunks.
2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers, season well, and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook about 3 minutes more. Last, add the chicken chunks then sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until well incorporated.
***Note: I think it’s important to dice your peppers as finely as possible so they won’t turn this creamy soup into a chunky soup.
3. Add in the chicken stock and simmer heavily for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Lower the heat to medium-low then add in the half-and-half. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for about 15 more minutes. Be careful your heat isn’t too high…the half-and-half will burn!
4. Once the soup has thickened and the vegetables are all cooked through, add in the grated cheese and heat another couple of minutes until melted. Serve with bread or in bread bowls.