Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder

Fall weather is finally here!!  It’s officially been fall for over a month, but until today, I’ve still been sending my kids to school in shorts.  Not only was it cold today (by Bay Area standards anyway), but it rained!  I thought it would be appropriate to welcome the autumn weather with a soup post.

One of my favorite types of soup it chowder!  Unfortunately, I don’t like clams, so clam chowder is usually out of the question.  I do enjoy a sourdough bread bowl full of it on the rare occasions that we go to San Francisco or Monterrey, but only after tasting each one and finding the least clammy variety.

Some chowders call for cream or half and half.  I just use milk in mine because I always have it on hand.  If you want a richer chowder, feel free to reduce the amount of milk and add one of the other richer dairy products.  You can also choose to substitute water for some of the milk if you want it less milky.

A word of caution:  milk burns easily and it foams up.  As a matter of fact, I have a baking soda paste in the bottom of my pot right now to remove the scorched milk.  Avoid turning the heat up too high, and be sure to stir often.  Also, use a pot with enough room to allow for some foaming—I used a 3-quart and it was too small.  Milk that foams over and burns onto the stovetop is one of the worst messes to clean up.

Beware of foam!

Rather than using a roux to thicken it, I like to use the starch from the potatoes.  To do this, I simply shred one of the potatoes on my cheese grater.  The small pieces release their starch and basically turn to mush, thickening the soup.

Grated potatoes will oxidize quickly.  Don't worry about it.

Another way you can thicken the soup is to omit the shredded potato and use the mashed insides of a baked potato.  If you do this, don’t add it until after the diced potatoes have cooked.  This is an ideal way to use leftovers.  Serve roast chicken and potatoes one night; make chicken corn chowder the next!

Want a meatless version?  Simply omit the chicken and you still have a delicious corn chowder.  Vegetarian?  Replace the chicken bouillon with vegetable bouillon.

Chicken Corn Chowder
1-2 Tbsp. butter, oil, or bacon drippings
½ large onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, sliced
6 c. milk (or milk plus water to equal 6 c.)
2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
3 russet potatoes, 2 diced, 1 grated or baked and mashed
1 lb. frozen corn
1½ c. cooked, diced chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil, butter, or drippings in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrot; sauté until onions are soft and translucent.

Add milk (and water if using), bouillon, and diced and grated potatoes.

Simmer on medium to medium-high until potatoes are soft, stirring often.  If using a mashed potato, stir it in now.  Add corn and chicken; heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with homemade focaccia bread—so yummy!!  Robbie just told me he could eat a whole loaf in one sitting.  I’ll have to post that one later.

1 comment:

Brigitte said...

So I just made this--- BUT I used 3c almond milk and 3c water because I am allergic to dairy (and almond milk is more expensive than I like, so I only used half). And I used some leftover ham. It tastes really yummy! I did have to add about 1/4c corn starch to thicken up the liquid... but after that it was the perfect consistency. Definitely something I will make again.

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