Once, when I was in high school, my family had dinner at our friends’ house and our hostess served a variation of this as the main course. We all loved it and she said that she made it for her family every week. I got the recipe from her and it became the recipe that I most often cooked for my parents and siblings, usually serving it with croissants, as our hostess had (my mom used to buy those giant flats of croissants from Costco, which our family of seven always quickly demolished).

This recipe is easy to multiply and comes in handy for events. I remember making an enormous batch of it once, alongside three of my friends, for a church youth event, where I’m sure I hoped to impress a guy or two. On another occasion, I made it for a community dinner at L’Abri, that was eaten outside, on the large back porch. Later, I made yet another monumental batch for a family gathering of twenty-six people. At that time, I made a vegetarian version as well, omitting the chicken and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock. The vegetarian version seemed to be as well-liked as the chicken one.

I also made this recipe the first time I cooked for my husband’s entire family (no one told me that his grandma didn’t eat chicken!). I’m realizing now that I’ve made this dish for more people than any other dish, by far, which is funny to me. I actually get really nervous cooking for people other than my family. I guess, back in the day, I was pretty confident when it came to this chowder!

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I hadn’t made this for some time and it came to mind as I was thinking of favorite family recipes for the blog. I was working from memory and the soup was coming along nicely, but it seemed to be lacking something. Finally, I remembered the essential ingredient: cumin. The cumin is important!

Also, I want to note, eight ounces of Monterrey Jack is economical and satisfactory. However, if you want an extra-thick chowder, you can increase the cheese—up to double!

This recipe makes at least eight hearty servings and the leftovers reheat nicely.

Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

  • Yield: 8–10 bowls
  • 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of chicken breasts (or 2 breasts), cubed in bite-size pieces
  • 1 can creamed corn (if you can’t find creamed, blend it in the blender or food processor)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 32 ounces half & half
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 four ounce cans mild diced green chiles
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 generous teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and sautée until the onion begins to soften.
  2. Add the chicken, stirring with the onion and garlic.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, add the creamed corn and the whole kernel corn, along with the water they are canned with. Add in the chicken broth at this time, as well. I used frozen homemade chicken broth and I just placed the frozen block on top and stirred it in until melted.
  4. While the mixture is cooled down, add the half & half. If the mixture is too hot when you add it, the half & half will separate.
  5. Allow the temperature to come back up and, once it is hot, slowly add in the shredded cheese. It will melt in quickly. Stir well.
  6. Add in the green chiles and chopped tomato, along with the cumin.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Serve with hot sauce and with bread and butter on the side, if desired, or croissants, for nostalgia.

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