4/4/11

Sweet and simple chicken corn chowder


It was a cold, windy, wet spring day yesterday and we all had a craving for some hardy soup. A friend of mine shared this delicious, easy recipe for chicken corn chowder and, though I tweaked it a bit, we all agreed it totally fit the bill. The best part was it allowed me to use the meat from one of our aged laying hens who we culled a few months back. It's no small feat finding a recipe in which you can use the world's toughest chicken meat, but this one minimized the toughness and you'd never know I didn't use a supermarket rotisserie chicken. Here's the recipe, and I'll go over the chicken info in a minute.

1 ½-2  cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
3 Tbsp butter
3 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups of water
1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
2 c. half and half
1 can cream style corn
1 can sweet corn, undrained
2 4-oz. cans green chilies, undrained
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
½ tsp Tabasco sauce (adjust to your personal taste)

In a large soup pot, sauté onion & garlic in butter until onion is translucent. Add chicken and cumin and stir to coat chicken, sauté for 1 minute or until chicken is heated through. Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water & add to pot with remaining ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes or until it reaches desired thickness. Serve with shredded cheese and chopped cilantro.

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It would be simple to make this recipe with your grocery store's rotisserie chicken or any leftover cooked chicken you may have in the fridge. But if you want to incorporate some of your less-than-prime, home-grown meat, here's what I did:

First, I de-boned my chicken. Using a sharp knife, I cut the breasts off the carcass, leaving the wings attached, then I removed the leg-thigh portions. My chicken was skinned, but if yours is not, now's the time to do it. Next I separated the leg from the thigh and sliced along the thigh bone to debone the thigh. For the leg, I just sliced around the tendons at the foot-end of the leg, but you could probably skip that step. I threw everything, including the carcass into a stockpot full of water (enough to cover). I diced one onion and one carrot, sprinkled with a little salt & garlic powder and boiled the whole thing for about 5 hours, occasionally adding boiling water as necessary to maintain water level. 

After 5 hours, I used tongs to remove the chicken pieces and set them aside to cool. I poured the stock through a sieve into a bowl and put it in the fridge. There, the fat will rise and congeal for easy skimming and I will freeze the stock in 2 cup quantities in Ziplock freezer bags until I come across a recipe that calls for it.

Once the chicken was cool, I pulled the remaining chicken off the bones and diced and shredded the meat for use in the chowder. The combination of the long cook time of the chicken, plus being served in this creamy soup made it surprising tender, so this one's definitely a keeper!

Hope you enjoy!

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