Finally, some cold weather in Texas! We thought it would never come, but it has been in the mid-20’s for the past couple of evenings, which means my thoughts turn to soups, stews and chili. The creamy corn chowder soup mix I purchased at the State Fair of Texas almost two months ago was finally on the menu. I was cautiously excited about making the soup because I love corn chowder, but my experiences with soup mixes has been hit or miss, and it has been mostly miss lately.
Ellie Hughes and her family are the driving force behind the Twisted Pepper Co. (Don’t you love the company name?) This small food manufacturing company specializes in gourmet dip, spread and soup mixes that are easy to prepare and delicious to eat. Ellie, or “Miss Ellie” as she is known, has loved cooking since she was a small girl. The company’s website has an amazing number of dip mixes, soup mixes, BBQ rubs, bread dipping oil seasonings, Tex-Mex seasonings and pasta seasonings. I browsed the virtual “grocery shelves” for quite some time. The selections run the gamut from a classic brisket BBQ rub to a very intriguing cranberry jalapeño pasta salad seasoning mix. The company focuses on healthy mixes, with lower sodium, gluten-free and MSG-free options.
I think one of the reasons this soup mix really works is that it is basically a seasoning mix to which cream-style corn and fresh or frozen corn kernels are added; the “just add water” type soup mixes always seem to fall short for me. I tweaked the recipe on the package a bit, mainly changing the cooking time. The package calls for the soup to be simmered for 10 minutes, but I knew from previous experience with soup mixes that a longer cooking time really blends and intensifies the flavors. The package suggests several variations and I elected to add diced potato. My revised recipe is below. Fair warning: the mix makes a big pot of soup, so plan accordingly!
Creamy Corn Chowder
- 1 package Twisted Pepper Co. Creamy Corn Chowder soup mix
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups half & half
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 can (15.25 oz) cream-style corn
- 1 (16 oz) package of frozen corn kernels
- 1 medium sized potato, diced
Combine water, half & half, broth, cream-style corn and frozen corn kernels in a large stockpot. Whisk in the soup mix and bring just to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the diced potato and continue simmering until the potatoes are done and the chowder is thick, about 20-30 minutes.
You will be rewarded with a very well-seasoned, hearty bowl of chowder. Everyone at our family dinner loved it. Miss Ellie also suggests adding chicken or crab to the chowder, and I think it would be fantastic with diced, smoked ham.
Twisted Pepper Co.’s website would be a great place to do some holiday shopping for those on your list who love to cook. Special holiday packaging on some products and free shipping on orders over $50 make it even more fun!