Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Southwest-Style Chicken (or Turkey) Chowder

Southwest-Style Chicken (or Turkey) Chowder

A quick and delicious way to use leftover cooked poultry

Have leftover cooked chicken or turkey? Need a warming, comforting dish to chase away the chill? Try this chowder. It’s a spicy mix of ingredients that you may already have on hand. Perfect pantry cooking!

Best thing about this dish is it’s ready in under an hour, start to finish. And you can freeze leftovers, so you’ll have another meal ready to go in minutes.

Winter never tasted so good.

Southwest-Style Chicken (or Turkey) Chowder

Recipe: Southwest-Style Chicken (or Turkey) Chowder

Say “chowder,” and we often think seafood (especially clams or fish). But “chowder” is really just a generic name for a hearty stew – typically one that is cream- or milk-based, usually thickened with potatoes.

We call our recipe southwest-style chowder because we use ingredients often associated with that section of the US: In this case, two types of green chile peppers, plus dried chile powder, cumin, and garlic.

If you don’t have leftover cooked chicken or turkey on hand, you can substitute supermarket rotisserie chicken. Just cut up as much as you need for this dish, then reserve the rest for another use. The measurements and ingredient list for this recipe are flexible – so substitute at will.

Prep time for this recipe is about 20 minutes. Cooking time adds another 30 minutes or so, much of it unattended.

Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container (or for 2 to 3 months in the freezer).

Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon, cut into pieces of about ½ inch
  • 1 medium onion, cut into dice of about ½ inch
  • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon kosher salt for us, but see Notes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices or minced finely 
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, cleaned, deseeded, and chopped finely (see Notes)
  • ~8 ounces green chile peppers (mild or hot), roasted, seeded, and diced (Hatch chile peppers work well; see Notes)
  • ~12 ounces “boiling” potatoes, washed and cut into ½-inch dice (peeling optional)
  • ~2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons dried chipotle chile powder (to taste; may substitute ancho chile powder)
  • 2 teaspoons dried cumin (or to taste)
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • ~2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 1 to 2 cups heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
  • a good-sized handful of cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • garnish of extra chopped cilantro or jalapeño slices

 Procedure

  1. Place the bacon in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan or soup pot over medium stovetop heat. Sauté until the bacon pieces are crisp and brown. Then remove the bacon from the cooking pot with a slotted spoon and set aside (we usually drain the bacon pieces on paper towels).
  2. Add the onion and red bell pepper to the rendered bacon grease in the cooking pot, salt to taste, and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic, jalapeño peppers, and roasted green chilies. Sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the potatoes, along with the chicken or turkey. Add the dried chile powder and cumin, and stir to combine. Then add the chicken/turkey stock and stir again. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook for 10 to 15 minutes (until the potatoes are cooked through).
  4. Add the sweet corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked bacon (from Step 1) and the cream or milk. Simmer for a minute or two, until the flavors are combined (adjust the amount of cream/milk depending on how thick you want the chowder to be). Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Stir in the cilantro, then ladle up the chowder. We often garnish with extra chopped cilantro or a jalapeño slice atop each bowl. 
Southwest-Style Chicken (or Turkey) Chowder
 Notes

  • We generally use thick-cut bacon when making this dish. You could substitute a quarter pound or so of diced salt pork if you wish (salt pork is actually traditional in many chowders). Sauté the salt pork in olive oil to brown it.
  • The seeds and oil of jalapeño peppers can be quite hot. So we suggest wearing gloves when preparing them: The easiest way is to cut off the stem ends of the peppers, slice the peppers in half, and then use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds and white membrane. Then mince the peppers. If you don’t wear gloves, be sure to wash your hands to remove the spicy oil from your skin.
  • We like to use Hatch chilies in this dish, but you could substitute poblano or Anaheim peppers (both of these are milder, but have good flavor). Fresh Hatch chilies are available only in late summer, so we often buy a mess of them when we can, then preserve them for later. We typically roast the chilies under a broiler (or outside, on the grill), then remove their skins and seeds, cut the chilies into dice, and freeze them. Poblano and Anaheim peppers are always available in our local supermarkets. So if we use those, we roast and deseed them just as we do Hatch peppers, but don’t freeze them.
  • You can also buy canned Hatch chile peppers. They aren’t nearly as flavorful as the ones you roast yourself, but they work OK (and they’re a great pantry staple).
  • The amount of liquid we add to this dish varies, depending on how thick we want the chowder to be that day. If you like a lot of liquid but still want a thick chowder, you can add a bit more potato to the dish, then use an immersion blender to break up the pieces and give the chowder more body. (Do this after Step 3.) Be sure to use an immersion blender with a steel shaft; plastic ones can crack in hot liquid (ask us how we know).
  • Speaking of potatoes, we prefer to use a “boiling” type (like Yukon Gold) in this dish. But russet potatoes will work in a pinch.
  • We used cream in the batch of chowder that we photographed for this post because we had some left over from the holidays. We sometimes use milk instead (it works well, although the flavor of the chowder isn’t quite as rich).
  • Frozen sweet corn is high quality, and we always have it on hand. You could probably substitute canned corn if you wish. Just drain and rinse it before adding it to the chowder.
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the flakes are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you use table salt in this dish, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
  • We find this chowder sufficient for weeknight dinner (OK, maybe we’ll have a second bowl). If you need more, we suggest adding a salad or some bread. Cornbread is particularly nice with this dish.
Southwest-Style Chicken (or Turkey) Chowder

Chowder Hounds

“Say it louder, we love chowder!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.

“And we didn’t have to clam up for it,” I said.

“So chowder-ed you come up with this recipe?” said Mrs K R.

“It just came naturally to a souper hero like me,” I said.

“Careful you don’t go overlord, kitchen boy,” said Mrs K R.

“I have your tongue to keep me in check, my little chile pepper,” I said.

“Which tongue is longing for another dose of this heavenly dish,” said Mrs K R.

Yup. Cause it’s chowder this world.

You may also enjoy reading about:

72 comments:

  1. I don't know what I like better today, the puns or the recipe! Thanks for sharing both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne, :-) We do enjoy writing those endings! And of course eating the food. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. We are eating a lot of soup these days, but not meat. Your recipe does sound delicious — we aren’t vegetarians, just concerned about industrial food processing workers.

    About canned “Hatch” chili peppers: there is a BRAND by that name but it doesn’t actually contain peppers grown in Hatch, NM. Reading labels is a disillusioning activity! Also sad: drought is reducing the pepper production potential in that part of NM.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mae, the whole food processing industry is in turmoil, but hardest hit are the meat workers. Good info about the Hatch BRAND. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. We love chowder too, and this one looks delicious, John! Hatch chilies are great, but they're so hard to find here, so next summer when I see them, I will do as you say to freeze them. Thanks! You and the Mrs. should take your act on the road! You'd be a hit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, buying Hatch chilies in season, roasting and then freezing them is the best way we've found to get their wonderful flavor. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  4. Hearty, comforting, and tasty. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  5. We love a good chowder around here! This one looks like a great way to clear the vegetable drawer, too! Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lydia, chowder always tastes so comfortable, doesn't it? And this is a great way to clean out the veggie drawer! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. Chowder is always welcome this time of the year and yours looks so satisfying and colorful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judee, after flavor, we value color in meals. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. Winter time is definitely the soup time. This looks super duper delicious and comfortable. Wish I were holding that bowl right now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angie, we lucky in that we have some in the freezer! Maybe dinner tonight? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  8. I love chowder when the weather is cold! This is total comfort food!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley, definitely chowder weather! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  9. Oh this is chowder season!! This looks so thick and hearty. Great comfort food for a cool winter day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, we LOVE comfort food! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  10. I am not a soup lover, but I LOVE chowder! It's that whole creamy versus chunky preference. This looks fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura, chowder is great, isn't it? And you can take it in so many different directions! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  11. That’s a great looking chowder John, perfect for a cold day. I love all the spicy ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gerlinde, we like spicy flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  12. Hearty comfort food is perfect for January and this chowder is a yummy option!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, I think we all need comfort food at the moment! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  13. I already love soup season and this recipe is one more delicious reason! Great looking bowl of soup to make for watching football too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judy, soup season is our favorite season! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  14. You will not be surprised when I say that here in Australia we well know what the word 'chowder' means but do not use such locally. And I am always glad to learn abut anything 'southwest' style . . . and chillies can be a problem . . . All that said, when autumnal winds begin blowing hereabouts in a few months this warming dish will be cooked, methinks the milk version :) !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eha, we go back and forth between milk and cream when we make chowder. More milk these days, but when we have cream on hand, we're happy to use it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  15. Love this southwest style chicken chowder. Corn adds a little natural sweetness and heat from the chili's. Super comforting on these cool days. Stay well and take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bobbi, corn and peppers are nice together, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  16. You have truly inspired me. This is seriously good and I'm stopping by to pick up a chicken, corn and cream on the way home. Thanks for a lovely midweek dish that will be welcomed by all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Merry, it's a good dish, and so easy to customize to taste. Enjoy! And thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. Well, you know I love anything with chiles! And it not only looks sunny, I bet it provides some heat....which I could use about now! Thanks, John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Abbe, we're big chile fans, too. Kinda obvious, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  18. Chowders arw so comforting and yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natalia, they are! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  19. This is a fantastic recipe, John, and perfect for us Southwest folk. And you are right — I have everything in the house for this. (I think this may finally use up the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David, we actually got around to using up the last of our Thanksgiving turkey when making this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  20. This is fabulous. Every time I see the main photo I think about how pretty it is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mimi, we really like colorful food. And flavorful, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  21. Whether there's a chill in the or not, I'm always ready for a comforting dish like this one. Such delicious warming flavors. I love it. (P.S. Don't think I've ever said, but I really love how that pretty blue and white checked napkin makes its way into your food pics. Love the contrasting colors and the familiarity of it.) :-) ~Valentina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Valentina, this is a great dish. And that napkin has become kind of a running joke for us (and actually serves as a nice environmental watermark). We originally started using it because its color works so well with food (so much of which is brown, orange, etc). And liked it, so we just keep using it over and over again. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  22. It's just a bit warm here in Oz to indulge in a chowder but gosh it looks delicious. I love your ending remarks, so clever. Thanks for this great recipe, and it must be nice right now to snuggle up in front of the fire with some chowder. Take care, Pauline

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pauline, cold and rainy here, so we're looking forward to breaking into our stash of frozen leftovers. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  23. Fabulous chowder John!!! All the flavors and ingredients I love! I usually avoid bacon even though I love it, but in this chowder it is obviously a must. Can;t wait to make this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MJ, fortunately it's not that much bacon. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  24. This southwest chowder sounds delicious! I love these easy to make chowders. So much flavor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dawn, we really like easy -- and tasty! -- recipes. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  25. I love chowder and this is perfect for the cold weather. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amira, cold and snowing here today. Chowder weather! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  26. I did associate the word chowder with seafood. It looks delicious and perfect to have on a cold winter evening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Taruna, we always think of seafood too, when it comes to chowder. But it's fun to branch out! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  27. I feel like I'm so into soup right now...and leftovers. (Total aside, but have you seen that leftover cooking competition?) Love this soup! Perfectly comforting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debra, haven't seen the leftover cooking competition -- sounds like fun! And yeah, this is really comforting stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  28. This looks like total comfort in a bowl. I love the addition of the corn, too, to add just a hint of natural sweetness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, corn is great in chowder! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  29. John, this is a perfect dish as the weather is ordering soupy, comforting and your chowder fulfills all norms to the need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hasin, snowing a little here today, so definitely soup weather. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  30. Your chicken /turkey chowder looks out-of-this-world good. I am bookmarking this one to make next week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Balvinder, it IS really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  31. I knew I was going to love your chowder as soon as I saw the bacon and jalapeño. The freezer option really adds so much versatility to this dish as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Heidi, lotta flavor in this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  32. Looks good! Seems like it would go well with a honey cornbread muffin. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi LB, this would be great with cornbread! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  33. Bahaha... only to be a fly on the wall in your house - and a guest at your table because this chowder looks amazing! I am all for finding clever ways of using up leftovers and this is marvellous. Thanks for the inspiration, John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Katerina, we do have a fun time. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  34. ooh yum! i love a good chowder. i like to make a thick and hearty corn and potato and chicken version. but maybe i'll wait for winter... tee hee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sherry, might be just a bit warm where you are for this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  35. This looks like a wonderful soup, John. I puposely have leftover chicken around during the week, as my go-to protein, and I'd love to use it in a soup like this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff, we often have leftover chicken on hand for just the same reason. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  36. Chowder you say! Count me in, I am a sucker for those. I usually have the fish, seafood or corn so Chicken/Turkey is something new that I would love to try

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Raymund, bet you'll love this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete