Spicy southwest chicken chowder warms the body and the soul

Southside Matt

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In spite of the warm front that has placed itself over the country, Winter is sure to make its arrival and bring frigid temperatures with it. When that happens, it will be time to spark up the fireplace and to place soups, stews, and chilis on the stove. Included in that is chowder.

The northeastern United States has various seafood that is incorporated for world-famous clam and seafood chowders. In the South and Southwest seafood is limited, particularly in Winter months, so substitutions have to be made.

Chowders are thicker than normal soups, but not quite the consistency of chili. They are a form of thickened stew with a white, creamy base instead of a tomato or stock base.

The most-common substitution for chowders in the South and Southwest is chicken. This recipe uses chicken breast as its protein, while still incorporating vegetables to make it a hearty meal all on its own. The spice adds a nice kick to warm the body and fight off the cold of Winter.

Ingredients:

· ½ lb bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces

· 1 medium onion, diced

· 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

· ½ medium jalapeno, chopped

· 4 TBSP butter

· ¾ cup all-purpose flour

· 1-1/2 cups half & half, or ¾ cup each heavy whipping cream and milk

· 48 oz chicken stock

· 1 lb chicken breast, marinated in cilantro-lime, cubed to bite-sized

· 12 to 14 oz corn, canned (drained) or frozen

· 1 TBSP ground cumin

· Salt and pepper to taste

· 1 lb fingerling potatoes, diced

· Sour cream for serving

· Cheddar cheese, shredded for serving

· Cilantro, chopped for serving

Directions:

In a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat and bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon to lined plate and drain all but 2 TBSP of the bacon grease. Add onion and cook until transparent and soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute, then add jalapeno. Add butter and allow to melt completely, stirring occasionally. When the butter is fully melted and incorporated, sprinkle flour ¼ cup at a time, stirring constantly, until well-coated. Continuing to stir occasionally, allow the flour to cook until browned, then add the half & half or cream and butter. Whisk vigorously and constantly until a roux is formed. Continuing to whisk constantly, add chicken stock and whisk until no longer lumpy. Add chicken breast, corn, cumin, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer. If the chicken is uncooked when added, allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Return the bacon to the mix and add the potatoes. Bring again to a boil and allow to cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. When the potatoes are cooked, move to low heat and allow to simmer for an hour longer.

Ladle into a bowl, top with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro, and enjoy thoroughly!

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Hailing from the Great State of Texas, South Side Matt monitors government for compliance with the Constitutional values that founded the United States, and works to maintain liberty for all in that spirit. His articles focus on furthering this cause, but also occasionally go "off track" into lighter topics such as cooking, general life and others.

Fort Worth, TX
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