I rarely make soup. Not really sure why. I guess it’s probably because Eric won’t eat it. According to him, soup is not a meal. That’s crazy talk, as far as I’m concerned. Bowl of soup, add a salad, maybe a piece of bread and you’ve got yourself a great meal! Nope. Not to him. Boo!
So I figured I just make some for myself and freeze the rest. Why not, right? When I spotted this Nacho Cheese and Corn Chowder recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I thought it sounded DELISH!
A little secret about me…I refuse to cook with heavy cream. With the exception of ice cream, if a recipe calls for heavy cream, I’m moving on. With ice cream, I already know I’m going to watch my portion size and only eat a little bit so I can avoid any ill effects. But with a main dish, I tend not to be as careful. Then, uh oh…upset tummy city! In order to avoid this unfortunate circumstance at all times, I just don’t cook with cream. I’m always on the look out to satisfy those creamy cravings without all the fat and calories of cream that I can’t deal with. This sounded like just the thing!
Sooooooo….the end result. I thought it tasted really good. I liked the flavor a lot. Cheesy and spicy. The problem was the texture. There was something off about it. It was probably one of three things or a combination of all of them. Number 1, I used 1% milk. I’ve used low fat milk in the past with good results. I used it last week in my parm penne I made and I used it in Ina’s Grown up Mac and Cheese. Maybe because this recipe calls for so much milk (6 cups total), 1% just doesn’t do the trick.
Number 2, you will notice the recipe calls for 12 oz. of shredded American cheese. Unless I’m looking in the wrong place, I’ve never seen an actual block or a bag of American cheese. Besides blocks of Velveeta and Kraft Singles, I was at a loss on where to find such a thing. So I debated in the store…do I buy sliced cheese and tear it up and throw it in? I just didn’t see that working for some reason. Or do I bite the bullet and use the Velveeta? At least it’s supposed to be melted! So I went with that. I bought the one made with 2% milk to save a little on the fat. It’s only once in a blue moon that I would ever use Velveeta for anything, but I swear I’ve noticed this before…it separates. And then gets a skin on top. Sigh…
Number 3, I think I overcooked it. There was a layer of burnt on crap at the bottom of my dutch oven. It was like the milk went beyond creamy to almost curdled. I don’t know….I’m guessing it was a combination of all three of those things that threw off my soup’s texture. I saved some in the fridge for lunch tomorrow and then froze the rest…we’ll see what we get, I guess. I really did like the flavor but I’ll need to make some serious adjustments if I’m going to make this again. I’d be open to suggestions on how to improve it!
NACHO CHEESE AND CORN CHOWDER (Recipe Source: Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook)
- 3 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 6 cups milk
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 tsps. instant chicken bouillon granules
- 3 cups frozen whole kernel corn
- 3 cups (12 oz) shredded Colby jack cheese
- 3 cups (12 oz) shredded American cheese
- 1 4oz can green chilies, drained
- tortilla chips
- hot pepper sauce
- In a 4 1/2 to 5 quart Dutch oven combine onions and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 5 minutes until onions are tender. Do not drain.
- Gradually whisk 2 cups of the milk into the flour until smooth. Stir into Dutch oven with remaining milk and bouillon granules. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
- Stir in corn, cheeses and chilies. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If desired, garnish each serving with salsa and a few tortilla chips. If desired, pass the hot pepper sauce.