Chicken-Corn-Chile Chowder for a Rainy Day

by Sarah on June 2, 2011

What is with the weather this year?  Even here in supposedly “Sunny California”, we’ve had a lot of rain.  And wind.  And chilly temperatures.  There is still skiing up in the Sierras.

And while I’m not going to be a spoiled Californian and complain too terribly much, let me just say that my delicate sensibilities are offended by this much darkness, wet weather and general gloom.

The only good thing about this weather is that it is affording me the pleasure of a few more fires in my fireplace and a few more bowls of hot soup.  ‘Cause nothin’ says “soup” to me more than “rainy day”.

“Rainy day” also says “fireplace”, “Snuggie”, and “Netflix”, just in case you were wondering.

I actually made this soup a week or so ago, on another rainy Wednesday.  It was an unbridled success.  At first I was thinking about making clam chowder, but remembered that the store had the first Spring corn on sale, so I just went with that.  I suppose this soup has a Southwestern sort of flair, what with the roasted chiles and all.

I have found that roasting the chiles right on your gas burner is way easier than the broiler method.  Though if you have an electric range, you’re going to have to go the broiler route.  When the things are blackened, put them in a bowl and cover it.  Forget about them till you need them next.

This is chopped bacon and a basic mirepoix.  Saute.  Your kitchen will begin to smell very good.

As for the chicken, you can use whatever you want.  Leftover chicken is fine, but I have 2 whole chicken breasts, cut into cubes.  I shoved the vegetables over to one side and let the chicken get a little bit browned.

Here are those peppers again.  This time with the black parts peeled off and the insides scooped out.  I don’t like to rinse them, it seems like you’re washing away all the good flavor.  Chop ‘em and put ‘em in the pot with some chicken stock.

After the soup has thickened to your liking, add some cream.  Taste it for seasoning.

I think this needs a fair amount of salt and black pepper, but season it to your liking!

Is the weather weird where you are?  What do you like to eat when it’s rainy outside?  Tell me in the comments.  I might have to try your favorites—the rain doesn’t seem to want to stop here.

Chicken-Corn-Chile Chowder


  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (1 cup total)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed (or equivalent chicken thighs or leftover chicken)
  • 1 lg (48-oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 5 ears corn, cut from the cob
  • 2 pasilla peppers
  • 1 cup half-and-half or cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour, divided
  • 1 large sprig fresh oregano
  • salt, pepper, olive oil


  • Roast the peppers directly on your gas burner or under your broiler until the skin is totally black. Place them in a bowl and cover it so that the pepper steam. Set aside.
  • In a big Dutch oven, saute the bacon over medium-low heat. When the fat is rendered, add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until softened. Add the garlic. Push your aromatics to the side and add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Add the raw chicken and brown slightly.
  • Sprinkle 3 Tbsp flour over the vegetables and chicken and stir for 1-2 minutes so the flour will not burn. Slowly add the chicken stock. Add the cubed potato and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Peel the skins off of the peppers and discard along with the seeds and ribs. Dice and add to the pot, along with the corn kernels and oregano. Bring the soup up to a boil and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Add half-and-half. Turn down heat.
  • If the soup is not thickened to your liking, take remaining 2 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp butter and squish them together, making little balls-aka a beurre manie.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • P.S. This soup could easily be adapted to be vegetarian. Just leave out the chicken and use veg stock.

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