Chipotle Corn Chowder

Chipotle Corn Chowder

This soup is devastatingly comforting. The sweetness of the corn combined with the smoky heat of the chipotles, all melded together by the salty, fattiness of the chorizo and perfectly balanced by the hit of lime crema? Ughhhhhhhh. Unbearable.

A few quick notes before I continue to extoll the virtues of this soup (nay, liquid gold – oh shit and the colour is kind of actually golden!): 

  • This recipe calls for Mexican chorizo, not Spanish chorizo. I can’t remember if I’ve differentiated between the two before, but let’s just assume you’re not my mom and don’t read every post, and account for the fact that even if I mentioned it, you might have missed it. Mexican chorizo is raw, and comes in casing like any other raw sausage. It is usually bright red due to the paprika and chiles mixed in with the pork, but will turn brown once cooked. It can vary in spice levels from very mild to quite hot, though most varieties found in Canadian supermarkets tend to be mild. 
  • Additionally, you will note that this recipe calls for a can of chipotles in adobo sauce. I have not mentioned how many chipotles you need for this soup, though using 2 full peppers will give the soup a pretty memorable kick of heat. I found that the perfect amount (for me) was 1 pepper, though if you are quite spice-sensitive you could just add a spoonful of the adobo sauce and not use any of the actual peppers as that will mellow the heat out very significantly. Keep in mind that the soup will intensify in heat the longer it sits around in the fridge. One of the batches that I made was mild-medium on the first day and medium-hot by the third, so keep that in mind if making ahead.

Okay, you’ve been lectured enough, go frolic in the glory that is this soup.

Chipotle Corn Chowder

Chipotle Corn Chowder w/ Chorizo + Lime Crema

Serves 6


3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter (¼ stick)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise (or quartered if very thick), thinly sliced
1 large Russet potato, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 ears of corn, shucked, kernels cut off the cobs (but save the cobs!)
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo (Mexican aisle)
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 fat links raw chorizo (Mexican-style)
½ cup crème fraiche (or full-fat sour cream), stirred well
2 limes, divided
Scallions + cilantro + avocado, to serve


Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and butter in a large pot set over medium heat. Once the butter is foaming, add the onion and leeks to the pot, sautéing for 10-12 minutes, or until they start caramelizing to a light golden-brown colour. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Add the cubed potato to the pot and ~¾ of the cut corn kernels (the rest will be tossed into the soup whole after it’s been pureed). Saute for another few minutes, just to allow the veggies to take on a tiny bit of colour. Season with another big pinch of kosher salt. Add as much (or as little) canned chipotle to the veggies as you like, breaking the pepper(s) up with your hands first, if using. Saute for another minute until very fragrant. Add chicken broth to the pot to completely cover the vegetables. I only needed ~3 cups, plus it’s always better to keep soup a bit on the thicker side because loosening it up is easier than re-thickening. Throw a couple reserved corn cobs into the soup, then re-season the broth with a generous pinch of salt. Bring the soup to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes (test by poking the potatoes with a fork to ensure tenderness).

While the soup cooks, heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet set over medium-high. Push the chorizo out of the sausage casings and break the meat up into the hot skillet. Saute until cooked through and crispy, using a spoon or spatula to break the meat up a bit more as it cooks. Let cool until the meat can be handled, then crumble into tiny pieces. Get the rest of your garnishes prepped, including the lime crema, which is just ~½ lime squeezed and stirred into the crème fraiche then refrigerated until ready to use.

When the soup is done simmering, puree (either with an immersion blender or in the regular blender in batches) until completely smooth. Take the time to really smooth out any lumps - part of the glory of this soup is the smooth silkiness of the texture. Add in whipping cream and blend again to combine. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved corn kernels to heat through.

To serve, ladle the soup into wide, shallow bowls. Drizzle lime crema around in a circular motion then gently place a handful of crumbled chorizo in the middle of the soup. Garnish further with avocado slices, scallions, cilantro, and lime wedges for squeezing over. Garnishes make everything perfect, don’t they?

Chipotle Corn Chowder