Monday, February 18, 2013

Chicken-less Chicken Chowder

It's a bit of an ironic title to give this soup recipe.  While there truly is no chicken cooked into this soup, it is made with a chicken stock base.  And the origin of this recipe was a chicken chowder - it actually had chicken in it.

But  in this house, we roll with what we don't have.  And the night I made this, we had no chicken.  So we made up soup with what we have.  This recipe has turned out to be my most beloved of all, so far.  Its the kind of soup you would find at a Panera, or Spoons [for you local Fort Collins friends].  A little different, but hearty and delish. I also am pretty proud of it because none of the ingredients are expensive or difficult to find, but you wouldn't know it when you eat it.

A couple quick notes:

-This soup will take up most of your focus while making it.  I would recommend to all the moms reading to plan on making this over a nap time or on a night when another responsible adult can pay attention to your children for about an hour or so.

the responsible adult
-You can definitely add cooked chicken in this recipe and make it Chicken-full Chicken Chowder.  You also can easily use vegetable-based broth and make this vegetarian.

Chicken-less Chicken Chowder

[Based on Fine Cooking's Chicken and Rice Chowder from their 2010 Soups and Stews Magazine]

Time: 40 minutes to an hour of dedicated time
Servings: 6-8

  • 2 jalapenos, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 red potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth [or veggie, if you want it vegetarian]
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 cooked wild rice/brown rice mix, if you prefer
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • splash Worchestershire sauce

*If you haven't already cooked your rice, I would start cooking it now.  That way you don't have to wait forever for it to finish while the family is starving*

Part One - In a 4 qt pot, put in jalapenos, onion, garlic, red potato, 1 of the 2 sweet potatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes - long enough that all of your ingredients are really mushy.

Next, blend your broth mixture until creamy. Then pour the mixture back into the pot.

Part Two - [Do this while the broth mix is simmering] In a large skillet, melt butter, then add celery, red pepper and other sweet potato.  Saute veggies for about 10 minutes on medium heat - until they are soft and browned a little bit.

Part Three - Add to the blended broth mix the sauteed veggies, milk, rice, pepper, and Worchestershire sauce.  Heat soup to a simmer [but not to a boil], and let sit for at least a few minutes before serving.

While this soup is a little spicy from the jalapenos, its not enough to deter me [the spicy wimp], or a one year old from really enjoying it. Because the jalapenos are fresh, the soup takes on more of a sweet-spicy tone to its flavor.

Have any stories of making due with what you don't have and succeeding? Do YOU have President's Day off?

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