Indeed, after you’ve cut all of the kernels off the cob, you should scrape the cob itself with the dull side of a knife. The milky liquid that results is another soup thickener (as are the potatoes in the recipe). Finally, at the end of the cooking process, I pureed some of the vegetables — the onions, as well as corn and the potatoes — to make the soup creamy without adding any cream.
I recommend garnishing this soup with homemade tortilla strips. They’re delicious, a snap to cook up, and both fresher and lower in fat than store-bought tortilla chips. Then again, if you’ve run out of time, use the store-bought baked chips.
The real beauty of this soup is that it’s a hearty and complete meal in a single bowl. You won’t need to serve anything else on a weeknight, and it leaves you with very few dishes to clean up.
SOUTHWESTERN CORN AND CHICKEN CHOWDER WITH TORTILLA CRISPS
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
Three 6-inch corn tortillas
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 pound red bliss or Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups fresh corn kernels (or thawed frozen)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup purchased salsa
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
Chopped fresh cilantro or basil, to garnish (optional)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Arrange the corn tortillas on a baking sheet, then mist them with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin, the chili powder and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tortillas. Using a pizza cutter, cut the tortillas into thin strips. Bake them on the middle shelf of the oven until they are golden and crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.