There it was, way in the back of my pantry, a can of Campbell's Chunky Corn Chicken Chowder. Judging by the layer of dust on the top of the can, it was bought some time ago. It was time to eat it or turn it into a paper weight. Unfortunately, I don't like the odd taste of the cream base in canned chowders. They always have a stale taste that overpowers the soup. But, I figured that adding herbs, and some sort of booze, would help rescue this tired can of chowder. And it did. It took additions of cumin, cilantro, poblano pepper, and dry sherry, but I wound up satisfied with the results. It wasn't great, but it was good. The cream base wasn't stale anymore. The vegetables were mushy, but if I replaced them all with fresh vegetables, I wouldn't really have canned soup anymore. It's like plastic surgery, a little is OK, but too much should be avoided, lest we not be able to recognize ourself.
It was an easy decision to use cilantro and cumin. I use them more than any other herb or spice. I could have used chopped fresh tomatoes and basil, but Southwestern seemed to be the way to go. And even though this is hardly a creative or dazzling dish, it's a reminder that herbs are almost always a good thing to add to food, especially when it's out of a can. And so, I felt that submitting it to Weekend Herb Blogging would be appropriate. Without herbs, the soup would have that awful tinned aftertaste. Eat it and say, "This isn't bad." Then apologize to the cooking gods and promise to make the soup from scratch someday. Let your demonic kitten lick the bowl, as you look for a feline exorcist in the Yellow Pages.
As most of you know Weekend Herb Blogging was created by the wonderful Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen, but this week it's being hosted by the marvelous, Wandering Chopsticks. So, do visit there and look at all the wonderful herby recipes made by herb lovers around the world.
Southwestern Corn Chicken Chowder
1 old can of chunky corn chicken chowder, the dustier the better
1/2 of a poblano pepper found rolling around in your crisper, chopped fine
1 to 2 teaspoons of cumin
1 heaping Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup frozen corn (You could use fresh corn, but why would you be eating canned soup then?)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 Tablespoons if dry sherry or tequila
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
Heat the butter in a saucepan until it melts. Add the pepper, cumin, corn, cilantro and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the can of soup, the cream, and the sherry or tequila. Heat until the soup is hot, add salt and pepper if you want, serve in a bowl with chopped cilantro on top.