This Creamy Corn & Sweet Potato Chicken Chili is full of veggies, tender chicken and a super flavorful broth. Healthy and delicious. Comes together in 30 minutes!
So I have a confession to make.
I don’t love chili.
I know it’s basically engraved in our brains and bellies that chili is the be-all and end-all when it comes to inaugural fall foods and game day, but I would much prefer a hot bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup, some hearty Thai ramen or even just a simple bowl of five ingredient butternut squash bisque.
White versions of chili are much more my style since they’re typically packed with beans and veggies, some sort of poultry and are generally lighter. The flavors aren’t as pronounced and heavy as a typical chili, which leaves me plenty of room for seconds. And cornbread. Because chili can’t be consumed without cornbread. With honey butter.
Soo maybe it’s not that I don’t like chili, per se, it’s just beef-based soups aren’t my number one choice when it comes to soups, and why today’s Creamy Corn & Sweet Potato Chicken Chili is so up my alley.
Inspiration for Creamy Sweet Potato & Chicken Chili
Here, the heavy hand of corn is inspired by my trip with the Kansas Corn Tour (you can read my first post here), where we were fed an obscene amount of corn (In a good way!), both figuratively and physically. While we learned that only 1% of corn harvested in the US is meant for human consumption, we still ate corn in some way, shape or form in almost every meal we shared.
I think these days sweet corn kind of gets a bad rap when it comes to nutrition, but I found out it has the same amount of calories as an apple, and less than a quarter of the sugar. Also, it’s loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin which aid in healthy vision – who knew?!
The last night after we wrapped up our tour, we ate a wonderful meal at a farm-to-table restaurant, where the starter was a show stopping corn chowder. It was super creamy, surprisingly light, and almost didn’t leave me enough room for my perfectly cooked filet that arrived shortly after. Almost.
The soup was the perfect starter, which obviously left me wanting to recreate it at home. Because my intentions were to serve this as a main course as opposed to an appetizer, I wanted my version to be a little bit more filling. I also wanted it feel light at the same time, so a variation on white chicken chili was the perfect compromise.
The base starts with plenty of diced onion and garlic, as most soups do. After the veggies sweat for a few minutes, a few cups of sweet potatoes are tossed in along with a hefty hand of ground cumin, dried oregano and plenty of salt. Because I have little kiddos, I like to keep the spice to a minimum, but if you like some spice, throw in a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes. Go for it! Cayenne pepper works also!
Once the sweet potatoes start to soften, the rest of the ingredients – white beans, diced green chiles, shredded chicken, low-sodium chicken stock, and of course plenty of corn – are thrown in and the whole thing is brought up to a boil and reduced to a simmer until the beans thicken the broth and the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
A little trick I like to use whenever using white beans in a soup, is to use a potato masher to break them up a little bit before adding them in. Not only does it add an element of texture that I love, but it helps to thicken up the soup. Totally up to you though.
Raw or cooked chicken?
The recipe calls for cooked chicken, but I also like to add raw chicken directly to the broth as it simmers. Cooking it this way helps to keep the chicken super tender while also adding flavor to the broth. Basically, I’d just use whatever is easiest or on sale. If you have leftover chicken, awesome. If chicken tenders are on sale, great. Want to grab a rotisserie chicken? Perfect.
To add a hint of creaminess, I added a touch of light cream cheese. Three ounces is perfect. You could also go with full-fat if that’s what you got, but low-fat is always what I have on hand. It’s thrown in at the very end of the cooking process and stirred until completely melted.
Last up, a final seasoning check and the soup is ready to be labeled into bowls and topped with all the appropriate accoutrements.
Each bowl is served with a dollop of sour cream, plenty of shredded pepper jack cheese and chopped cilantro. You could also use shredded cheddar, or even mozzarella if you want to keep the fat low, but still have that cheesy factor. I also love to serve this with a side of cornbread! And obviously, corn chips or saltine crackers are perfect as well.
Totally my kind of chili. And hopefully yours as well.
Other fall soups and stews
Pretty things/Tools Used in Today’s Post
Corn & Sweet Potato Chicken Chili
This Creamy Corn & Sweet Potato Chicken Chili is full of veggies, tender chicken and a super flavorful broth. Healthy and delicious.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
- 2 cups diced sweet potato
- 4 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp ground oregano
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 14.5 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 oz canned diced green chiles
- 2 cups shredded chicken *see note
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 3 oz light cream cheese
- sour cream, pepperjack cheese and cilantro for serving
Add olive oil to the bottom of a large dutch oven or stock pot. Heat over a medium flame. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sweat for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add garlic, sweet potato, another 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin and oregano. Sweat another 2-3 minutes until the sweet potatoes begin to soften.
Add white beans, green chiles, shredded chicken, remaining salt and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until beans start to soften and butternut squash is fork-tender.
Add cream cheese, stir until melted. I like to use a wooden spoon to break it up and help it melt faster. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded pepperjack, sour cream and chopped cilantro.
While you could buy a rostisserie chicken and shred the meat, I like to buy about a pound of raw chicken, rub it with olive oil and season it with salt, pepper and ground cumin, then bake it in a 350 degree oven. Let it cool, then shred. It gives so much more flavor to the soup!
Thank you so much to Kansas Corn for sponsoring this post!