Corn Chowder has been a family favorite since I was a child. Soups, stews, and chowders are quite popular in New England and my mom’s Corn Chowder was always a big hit at potlucks, get togethers and family dinners. Although it is called a chowder – the broth is not thick like a clam chowder. It is filled with lots of yummy vegetables, corn and potatoes and has a nutty flavor that reminds me of my home in Vermont.
Last week at work, we had a mexican themed potluck so I decided to take my mom’s traditional Corn Chowder recipe and give it a southern/tex-mex kind of flare. It had all the wonderful flavors of the original recipe combined with the flavors of jalepeno and cilantro to give it a spicy kick. I must say, however, that I still prefer the traditional recipe but the Mexican twist gave it a little flare that would be great for a change, on occasion.
Mexican Corn Chowder with Fried Tortilla Strips
1/4 to 1/2 pound of bacon, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 medium onion, diced (or 1/2 a large onion)
10-12 green onions, sliced (2 tablespoons for the recipe, save the rest for garnish)
1-2 jalepenos, chopped (seeds and ribs removed)
2-3 gloves of garlic, minced with a microplane
2-3 red skin potatoes, diced
2 Cans of whole kernal corn
1 Can of creamed corn
1 – 10 oz. can of Rotel (I used the cilantro/lime flavor)
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (1/2 for the recipe, save the rest for garnish)
2 Cups of Half and Half
8 corn tortillas
Cooking oil, for frying
In a stock pot (I use an enameled cast-iron dutch oven) fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and all but two tablespoons of the fat. Set the bacon aside to drain on a paper towel. In the remaining fat, saute the celery, onion, and about 2 tablespoons of the green onions until they start to become tender. Add the garlic and the jalepeno and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the potatoes, the corn and Rotel along with the liquids from their cans. Add enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables with about 1 inch of liquid. Add baking soda, worchestershire and salt and pepper then simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through. (This recipe can be frozen at this time and saved for later use. Since we are only a family of two, I usually divide the recipe and freeze 1/2 for another time. Be sure to adjust the cream and cilantro accordingly if you halve the recipe.)
While the potatoes cook, heat up 1-2 inches of oil in a skillet. Slice the corn tortillas in half and then into tiny strips. Fry them in the hot oil for about 30 seconds or so until they turn golden. Fry in small batches and immediately remove them to drain on paper towels. Salt them if desired. Store in an air tight container until ready to use.
Approximately 30 minutes before serving, add the bacon back into the soup and add the cilantro and the cream and bring to temperature. Serve hot and garnish with green onion, cilantro and the fried tortilla strips.
Dont’s like it so spicy?
If you prefer a milder soup but still want that tex/mex flare us only half of a jalepeno, reduce the garlic to one clove and choose MILD Rotel. Prepare the recipe the same as above.
What about the TRADITIONAL recipe?
My mom’s traditional recipe is so good too. To make Traditional Corn Chowder eliminate the green onions, the jalepenos, the cilanto and the tortillas. Reduce the garlic to one clove and choose the MILD Rotel. Serve with crackers or grilled cheese sandwiches.