This recipe came about because of new toys in the kitchen and a trip to Utah.
When I was visiting my mom and stepdad in Utah this summer, we had dinner at the St. Regis in Deer Valley and while everything was delicious, the thing that stood out the most was a corn chowder. And it was extra amazing because it was dairy-free. No cream, but smooth as silk.
I played around with a few different versions starting with this recipe for inspiration and looking at a handful of different vegan recipes to get ideas for the creaminess-without-cream. This is what I finally came up with. 🙂 (I’ve also tried it with crab meat and with shrimp instead of chicken and both were good, though chicken was the heartiest. To use crab meat or shrimp, just skip the chicken and add your separately cooked crab or shrimp to the soup after blending)
2 pounds chicken breast
1/2 cup bacon crumbles (split)(I use real bacon crumbles from Costco. If you are more patient and less lazy than me you could also cook a few pieces of bacon and crumble it up.)
1.5 cups mirepoix (I like to buy pre-made mirepoix, but you can also chop this up yourself. I like a combination of 2 parts onion to 1 part each carrots and celery.)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can sweet corn (split)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
24 oz sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 4-ounce cans mild diced green chiles, drained (split)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Sliced scallions, for serving
Chopped parsley, for serving
Set the Instant Pot to saute and when it’s hot, saute the mirepoix and 1/4 cup bacon crumbles, seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper for 3 minutes more.
Add the chicken, broth, sweet potato, 1 can chiles, 1/2 can corn, and oregano, and set to Poultry.
When it’s done, do a quick release of the steam. (I always double-check the chicken has gotten to an internal heat of 165.) Remove the chicken to another dish and blend the soup with an immersion blender. Shred the chicken and mix it back into the soup along with the remaining corn, bacon, and chiles. Top with scallions and parsley to serve.
I haven’t tried this without the Instant Pot and immersion blender, but, I’m pretty confident you could do the Instant Pot part in a slow cooker and use a regular blender* instead of the immersion blender. Saute the mirepoix and 1/4 cup bacon, seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin on the stove. Then transfer to your slowcooker with the chicken, broth, sweet potato, 1 can chiles, 1/2 can corn, and oregano. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours, depending on your slowcooker (always cook your chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Remove the chicken to shred and blend the rest of the soup in a blender. Shred the chicken and mix it back into the soup along with the remaining corn, bacon, and chiles. Top with scallions and parsley to serve.
*Be careful blending hot soup in the blender! Click here for some tips on avoiding explosions and scalding!
For each of 8 servings: 276 calories, 3.9 grams of fat, 28.6 grams of carbs (4.2 grams of fiber), 27.9 grams of protein.
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