Chicken corn chowder of great excellence ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

22 January 2011

Chicken corn chowder of great excellence

So I finally got enough distance from the meat overload of several months ago to cook with our freezer chicken and its broth. Our refrigerator is actually pretty bare right now, since I cleaned it out and neglected to go shopping afterward. The freezer raid was therefore at least a marginal necessity.

Things we had:
- chicken
- corn
- potatoes (not in freezer)

It was clearly time for some serious chowder.

This is a standard soup, and so it is very easy and fairly fast. And what's cheaper than using the broth you coaxed from the carcass of a roasted chicken and froze months ago?

Chicken corn awesome chowder (or I guess soup as I didn't actually use milk or cream. FINE.)

olive oil/butter
a hot pepper
broth (veg Or chicken; what do you have?)
cooked chicken
paprika, mustard powder (or dijon mustard), salt, pepper
garnish: cilantro/parsley, labneh/sour cream/other dairy/etc.

Do what you'd normally do for soup: chop up an onion and hot pepper of your choosing, and soften them in olive oil, butter, or a combination. I believe the pepper I used was of the long red cayenne persuasion, but most hot peppers should work fine. If you have access to some poblanos, by all means roast them, flake off their skins, chop them up, and add them; roasted poblano and chicken LOVE each other.

If you want to add things like garlic, carrots, or celery, go right ahead. It's all good. Let them soften while you scrub and dice some good boiling potatoes.

When things are soft and fragrant, add the potatoes, plus a good few shakes of paprika and a little mustard powder. Herbs in the marjoram/oregano family might be good here too. Toss everything together and cook for a few minutes more, stirring intermittently; this will give the potatoes a chance to absorb some of the excellent onion-pepper oil and to develop a bit of crust.

After about five minutes, add in several cups of broth, a couple handfuls of chopped cooked chicken, and another couple handfuls of frozen corn. I used chicken broth, since I had a big chunk of it in the freezer, but veg broth is also good here; see the big broth FAQ to produce some. I wouldn't use any stronger meat broths, such as beef or lamb, as those would totally overwhelm the finished soup. Other vegetable broths (mushroom, potato, corncob?) should be fine.

Anyway. Salt the soup, bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for at least ten or fifteen more minutes. Then take off the lid and check the soup texture; if it's too watery, boil off some liquid; if it's too thick, add some water or some extra broth.

When the soup is your preferred texture, add pepper, taste for seasoning, and serve.

I had my first bowl of this with a lot of chopped cilantro and some sriracha sauce, and it was excellent.

Later, I decided that I wanted a bowl that went along with a more stringent version of the "chowder" title, and contained dairy. I added a bit of milk, but the finished product was just not creamy enough for me. Hmm. Ok, what's in the fridge? Half a block of cream cheese. Great! So I chunked off a slice of cheese, dumped it in the pot of soup, and heated it just enough to melt.

The resulting chowder was so rich that it really needed all the chopped parsley in the house. I think I was full for the entire duration of the day. Oh man. It was awesome.

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