Every year, when September rolls around, I start CRAVING cooler weather. It is like a part of me is just yearning for a light, crisp breeze so that I can open my windows and wear a pair of jeans without worrying about having to peel them off at the end of the day. As soon as we get that first cold front that brings “sweater weather” (which for us, is defined by temps in the low 70’s with no humidity), I will be ready to make one of my favorite fall and winter recipes…Cajun Corn Soup.
One of the best gifts my mom has given me has been the ability to cook. I will always be forever grateful to her for taking time out while I was growing up to show me the basics of how to chop an onion, how to make a roux, and most importantly, for passing on some unique recipes that have been handed down through the generations of our family.
This recipe is one of those heirloom recipes in our family collection. Cajun cooking is often based on making the most out of the least expensive cuts of meat and making the most out of a harvest. This recipe is exactly that. It is my family’s version of Maque Choux, a Cajun dish that uses corn, the trinity, and tomatoes. Some Cajuns make it as a side to go with a protein; in our family, my grandmother fashioned this dish to make it a one pot complete meal, and it does not disappoint.
I have been “learning” how to make corn soup since I was at least 5 or 6 years old. I vividly remember sitting on a picnic table shucking corn in the middle of July during the corn harvest at my grandmother’s house. Every summer, the corn would get shucked, and my grandma would make us a big ole pot of this soup. In addition, when we used fresh corn, we would shuck the kernels off and then press the back of our knives onto the cob to squeeze any last corn “milk” out of it to make the soup thicker and creamier. No worries, though, if you only can get your hands on frozen corn, that will work too! Regardless, this recipe is one of the winter favorites in our house, and I’m ready for it to cool off outside so I can make a big pot to feed a crowd!
This recipe is easy, pretty healthy, and is perfect for watching football with friends, or even after spending a day searching for the great pumpkin. Let’s just say, it’s a steaming bowl of Cajun pride and love that will warm up your belly and your heart. Give it a try!
Mama’s Cajun Corn Soup
(makes 8-10 servings)
2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut in a large dice (we usually use thighs)
1/2 – 1 whole package turkey smoked sausage (our preference is Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa)
4-6 large ears of fresh corn, shucked and “corn milk” squeezed out (or 24 oz bag of frozen kernel corn)
1.5 cups of trinity, chopped (onions, bell pepper, and celery)
1 clove of garlic
1 tube of frozen creamed corn
1 32 oz. box of chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Creole seasoning blend, to taste (We use Slap Ya Mama)
Salt & Pepper
Cooked Rice or Quinoa (optional)
In a large dutch oven, heat up 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. Once heated, add sausage to pot and sauté until a bit of the fat is rendered. Remove sausage from pot with a slotted spoon and place to the side. Add chopped chicken to the rendered sausage drippings and olive oil. Cook and season chicken with a little creole seasoning till browned.
Add sausage back in and then add in trinity (or onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic) and sweat out the vegetables a bit until they start to get translucent. Add in the corn and sauté in the mixture with a little more creole seasoning to soften it up a bit and to add a little sweetness and color. Add the cream corn, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and chicken stock to the pan and bring up to a boil until the cream corn is completely thawed out. Once it comes up to a boil, simmer for 30-35 minutes and season to taste.
Serve over rice and enjoy!