Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

I've been away from the blog for a few days.  We've had a chaotic week here in my house. My grandfather passed away this past week.  And, we've been battling yucky sickness in our household since last weekend. 

On a brighter note, my little nephew was born two days ago.  My sister went into sudden, quick labor in the middle of the night.  911 had to be called and she gave birth in a grocery store parking lot in the back of an ambulance just ninety minutes or so after her water broke.  Isn't that quite a story to tell her newborn son when he's older!  My sister is doing great and little baby Carter couldn't be cuter!

Not a lot of home cookin' has been happening in my kitchen in recent days.  So, I was happy to get back to work on a new recipe and blog post.

My dear friend, Carrie, shared this recipe with me and told me that I just had to try this chowder.  It is loaded with so many ingredients that I love (and usually keep on hand), so I was super thrilled to give it a whirl.  I completely trust her culinary opinion, so I had a feeling that I was in for a real treat!  I was not disappointed.  With temperatures hovering around zero (and below) here in Michigan all week, this soup was a welcome addition to my menu today.

The recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker.  Yields 5 - 7 servings.

1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon of the sauce (use only 1 chile - not 1 can)
2 tablespoons butter
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (yellow or orange pepper would be fine, too)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 (30-ounce) can sweet corn, drained (frozen corn [thawed] would work - this is my preference)
1 (15-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 cup crushed tortilla chips (measured after crushing)
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Chopped cilantro or parsley, to garnish (optional)
Remove one chile from the can of chiles and mince it. Remove 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce and set it aside to be used later. You can save the remaining chiles and sauce for another use.  (I freeze a pepper or two in snack-size plastic bags for single-serve portions when needed in the future.)

This is how they come in my grocery store.  I can easily find them at most markets.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the poblano pepper, red bell pepper (I used a combination of red, yellow and orange), the chile from the can, cumin, thyme and oregano, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peppers become soft.

Add the garlic, stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minute, or until there is no longer any visible raw flour. Slowly stir in the milk and chicken broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.

Add the potatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife.

Add the shredded cheeses a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until the cheese is completely melted.

Finally, stir in the chicken, all of the corn, the tortilla chips, lime juice and the reserved 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce (if you feel that the chowder is already spicy enough at this point, you can omit the adobo sauce or just use a lesser amount). Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the soup is completely heated through.

I always allow my soups/chowders to sit uncovered and with the burner off for about ten minutes at the end of cooking, but this is optional.  Excellent served with tortilla chips for dipping or crushing into the chowder.

NOTE: If you have leftovers that have been refrigerated and reheated, you may need to thin out the soup with some extra chicken stock as it may thicken up in the refrigerator.

P.S.  My thirteen-year old assisted me with staging and photos for this recipe.  Below is her bowl of soup that she photographed ... I promised her that I'd include it.

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