Monday, January 7, 2008

Southwestern Chicken Chowder with Roasted Poblano Peppers and Corn

I honestly don't know how I came up with this recipe. I will say though that I'm a bit of a soup magician, throwing all kinds of things in a pot and somehow making them taste acceptable. Maybe even fabulous. This chowder was no exception, I have to say. I think I trolled around the Food Network site a bit before concocting it, and could have been inspired by both Emeril and Paula. All I know is, this is some good soup. I realize it looks like a lot of work, but in actuality most of it is prep, and prep can usually be done way ahead of time. I'm just saying, if you like soup---especially hearty southwestern types---you might like to give this a go. My grade: A


¼ cup olive oil
3 large carrots, cut into ½-inch dice or as preferred
2 large onions, cut into ½-inch dice or as preferred
⅛ cup garlic, minced
2 large poblano peppers, roasted and seeded*, diced
16 oz whole kernel corn, roasted
3 or 4 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
3 quarts chicken broth (homemade is better, but if you don’t have any on hand, use low sodium organic)
¼ cup minced cilantro leaves (more or less, to your taste)
1 roasted or grilled chicken, largely diced (store bought rotisserie is fine)
1 stick unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg (a pinch)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp chipotle chili powder**
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream


Spread whole kernel corn one-layer deep over cookie sheet. Roast at 400 for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, until kernels brown slightly. Remove from pan; reserve. (If you prefer not to roast corn, that would be fine.)

Peel potatoes and chop, about ¾". Place in pot, cover with water plus one inch. Do not add salt. Cook through; when fork passes through potatoes easily, they are done. Drain and reserve.

Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, garlic, poblano peppers (see note #1 below), salt, white pepper, cumin, all chili powders or blends (see note #2 below), and thyme. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

(**For a more creamy soup, when the veggies are tender, add a cup of chicken stock to mixture and transfer to blender. Puree and return to the pot. Alternatively, for half creamy/half chunky consistency, take half (or more, or less) the veggies, add the stock and puree, then return to pot.**)

Stir in chicken bouillon. Add (the rest of) the chicken broth, tomato sauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro and corn and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. After this, add potatoes and the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chowder is thick and the chicken and potatoes are heated through.

Shortly before the chowder is done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot liquid from the stockpot into the skillet, whisking constantly.

When the first cup of liquid is incorporated, add another 2 cups of liquid, 1 at a time. Pour the mixture in the skillet into the stockpot, whisking to blend. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove pot from the heat. Stir in cream, blending, heating.

Serve with Monterey Jack Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Quick Bread and some sangria.

Note #1: Green poblanos are always cooked or roasted. Use broiler or gas oven. After 80% of the skin has blistered, place poblanos in brown paper bag for ten minutes. Then under cold running water rub off tough outer skin, seed and peel, then chop/dice.

Note #2: Canned chipotles work as well, simply mince them and add to soup according to desired heat. Dehydrated chipotles work too; grind them then add according to desired heat.

Note #3:
Go slowly with nutmeg and cinnamon, as these are unique flavors. Some like more, some like less.

Note #4:
Salt and pepper amounts listed are somewhat conservative. Adjust to your personal taste.

Yields 12 - 16 servings.


Corinna said...

You write very well.

Crys said...

well thank you, and as i look at that soup i am thinking WOW, HOLY HELL, I'D LOVE TO EAT AN ENTIRE POT OF THAT.