Mar 29, 2011

Poblano Chicken Chowder

           I know what you're thinking. Come on Heather, spring is here; why are you posting a recipe about soup? I posted this recipe because if you, like me, have a few more cool to down-right-cold days until the heat and humidity start, you should definitely make this soup. This soup is really good. In fact this soup is a "two-bowler." More on that later. 
          The soup is similar to a thick chicken and dumpling, without the dumpling and  kicked up with poblano peppers and cilantro. This recipe made a ton of soup. I'm glad it did because it took care of lunches for 3 days afterward. 
(This pot was filled to the Top, if you enlarge the photo you can see the soup line.)          

             Usually, soup is not Cale's thing. He'll eat it, but he doesn't ask for it. The night I made this, Cale had TWO bowls of soup. That's right it was a "two-bowler."  He really enjoyed this. It is chunky and filling, and it is a Paula Deen recipe. So naturally, I had to adapt it and lighten it a bit. In true Paula style this chowder had a cup of heavy cream and to her credit it makes a very large batch of soup (the soup filled my 6 quart dutch oven pot all the way to the brim.) In all actuality, this soup didn't need that much cream. I added between 1/4-1/2 cup of cream to the full batch, just to give it that rich taste and smooth mouthfeel. I approximate that it ended up being about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of cream per serving. The flavor and texture were worth a few extra calories.
           I hope you enjoy this chowder as much as we did. It reheated well the following days and I would think that it would also freeze well. 

Poblano Chicken Chowder
adapted slightly from Paula Deen

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large carrots, cut into slices
2 large onions, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (I used about 4 large cloves)
3 small poblano peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chicken base, or bouillon granules
3 quarts chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, minced
3 cups diced (large pieces) grilled chicken (I used a Costco rotisserie to save time)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, I used a whole grain flour blend
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more to taste

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, poblano peppers, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme. Saute for 7-8 minutes, until veggies soften. Stir in the chicken base. Add the broth and cilantro and cook for 8-10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Stir in the chicken and cook stirring frequently until chowder is thick and chicken is heated through. 

Shortly before the chowder s done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot broth from the pot into the skillet, whisking constantly.
When the first cup of liquid is mixed in, add another 2 cups of broth one a time. Pour the flour mixture in the pot of soup, whisking to blend. 

Cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes longer until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in hot sauce to taste and cream. Serve warm.

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