Have you been feeling a little calcium-deprived? Wishing you could find a way to pack more dairy products into your diet? Well, never fear–this soup will do the trick! Seriously, there's like fifteen pounds of delicious creamy goodness in here. Which is good, 'cause it mellows and rounds out the kick from the spicy seasonings–making it as kid-friendly (Fisher's on his second bowl) as it is hearty (I ate one good-sized bowl and am well and truly done for the evening now).
This soup lends itself to variation; it would be good with just about any sort of salsa or picante sauce, and I think it would be downright intriguing made with a tomatillo-based salsa. I just ground a little fresh pepper over each bowl by way of decoration, but it would be nice with some chopped cilantro or a few sliced olives or even a little crumbled queso cotija, y'know, in case you didn't think it was dairy-licious enough already.
Southwestern Corn Chowder
2 Tbsp butter
2 small-to-medium onions, chopped
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp taco seasoning (just mix together some chili powder, chopped garlic, dried oregano and salt if you don't have this on hand–I'm not sure why we have this on hand, let alone in the vast quantities currently chilling out in our pantry)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups salsa or picante sauce, your choice of flavor/texture/heat level; I used a medium heat, fairly thin, tomato-based salsa
1-1/2 to 2 cups frozen corn, allowed to thaw a little, though it's not the end of the world if it's frozen hard when it goes in
Cream cheese: I had about two-thirds of an eight-ounce block left and it was nice. The whole block might've been a little much. Use whatcha got. This works better if the cream cheese is softened just a bit, either by putting it in a warmed bowl for a while or tossing it in the microwave at 50% power for 20 seconds or so.
1 cup milk
S&P2T (that's how the cool kids say "salt and pepper to taste," maybe)
In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are quite soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in flour, taco seasoning and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until everything smells a bit toasty (but don't let it burn).
Add broth, salsa and corn. Increase heat and bring to a boil; once it's just boiling, remove from heat.
Scoop out 1/4 cup of the hot liquid and combine it with the cream cheese in a small bowl. Stir until softened and smooth.
Return soup to low heat. Stir in cream cheese mixture and milk. Heat through; do not let it boil or you'll have weird-looking little curdly things to contend with. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.
This would be nice with corn muffins, or if you're super-into lily-gilding, as we apparently are around these parts, you could pair it with simple quesadillas. No lie. We seriously had quesadillas with this soup. And it was damn fine eating.