Technically it’s Fall, although I’m still not sure how that snuck up on me! Of course in my kitchen, Fall does not really begin until the slow cooker comes out of its summer hibernation and I’ve made my first batch of soup. I have also returned to work so that also means a lot of slow cooker meals and a lot of soup!
This season’s first Fall soup is a comforting Chicken and Corn Chowder which I found in one of my archival copies of Bon Appetit magazine. A real crowd pleaser, and a perfect soup to make on Sunday afternoon for the football crowd. And yes, it is even better the next day, so enjoy the leftovers throughout the week.
There is a bit of prep involved with this recipe, but cooking is love, so just imagine yourself pouring your heart into this soup. Next time around, I will definitely be on the lookout for cubed butternut squash at the grocery, as that will easily shave 15 or so minutes off prep time.
The original recipe calls for just salt and pepper (yawn). You knew I couldn’t leave it at that, so I threw in some lovely smokey ground chipotle and the soup came alive! Conventional chile powder or smoked paprika would also do the trick. I’m also thinking some roasted poblano peppers would be a welcome addition and a nice compliment to the cilantro.
There is one final thing that would make this soup even BETTER: pretty little pumpkin soup bowls like the ones pictured here in Bon Appetit. Only ninety shopping days left until Christmas, family members! (hint hint)
Chicken and Corn Chowder with Bacon, Scallions and Cilantro
- 10 bacon slices, chopped
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cups chopped red bell peppers (about 2 large)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 9 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (cut from one 1 3/4-pound squash)
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 16-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 4 cups diced skinned roast chicken (cooked rotisserie-style chickens work perfectly for this)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Ground chipotle, chile powder or smoked Spanish paprika to taste (optional)
- 2 cups chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cook bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings from pot. Add butter to pot; melt over medium-high heat. Add onions and 1 cup bell peppers. Sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth, then squash, potatoes, and thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until squash and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add corn, cream, and 1 cup bell peppers. Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and optional chile seasoning. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Add chicken, 1 cup green onions, and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer 5 minutes. Make any final seasoning adjustments.
Ladle chowder into bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup green onions and 2 tablespoons cilantro.