Chipotle Chicken Chowder

Since last fall I’ve tried a ton of soup recipes looking for that one perfect soup. A soup recipe that could stand up against my absolute favorite: Chicken Tortilla Soup. I’ve found quite a few good soups, even some great ones, but nothing that I loved as much as that tortilla soup. But, finally, after months of looking I think I may have found it. I’m not sure I’d say I like this chowder more than tortilla soup, but it’s definitely tied with it.

I would call this chowder a cousin to tortilla soup. The recipes produce very different soups despite having a lot of the same ingredients. That’s probably why I like it so much. (I also like it because it’s a Cooking Light recipe so it’s healthy.) Both have a base of pureed vegetables, but this one doesn’t have tomatoes in the base like the tortilla soup does. This chowder is much creamier (the one unhealthy ingredient is a very small amount of heavy cream) and has potatoes, which only makes me love it more. I’ve made this recipe several times and adapted it a bit by adding some corn and a bell pepper to make it even heartier.

And don’t be scared off by the chipotle part! This only has a single chile in it and little bit of adobo sauce. I am a big wuss when if comes to spicy foods and I didn’t think this was too bad. You can always adjust the amount of chiles and adobo sauce to your own tastes. Cornbread goes great with this chowder, and also helps to cool your mouth down!

Chipotle Chicken Chowder and Honey Cornbread

This recipe isn’t difficult, but it’s about an hour of cooking time, divided up. The most time consuming thing for me is always the prep, chopping up the vegetables, etc. My knife skills are not great so I chop really slowly. Things go much faster when Brandon is my sous chef! Since most of the vegetables are pureed, you don’t need to be precise so that saves some time.

What I really like about this recipe is that you poach the chicken in the broth. This is such a good idea! The soup and the chicken get to cook at the same time and it’s gives the chicken more flavor. It’s much simpler than having to cook it separately. I’m going to do it this way with my tortilla soup from now on, too.

There’s still a month of winter left, so if you’re looking for something to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, this chowder is for you! And if you have a cold it’s especially helpful because it will clear those sinuses right out. :)

Chipotle Chicken Chowder

Chipotle Chicken Chowder

adapted from Cooking Light

Dinner, Soup | Servings: 8
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 can (7 oz.) chipotle chiles in adobo sauce*
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups roughly chopped onion
  • 1 cup roughly chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped celery
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (not thawed)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped seeded plum tomato**
  • 1 chopped red or green bell pepper***
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
  • 8 lime wedges

* If you’ve never bought these before you can find them with in the same aisle as salsa and other Mexican food.

** Do you know how to seed a tomato? Well, I didn’t until recently so don’t feel bad if you don’t. It’s quite easy: Just cut the tomato in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides with a spoon.

*** Feel free to omit the bell pepper, but if you do, double the amount of tomatoes.

Process

  1. Remove one chile (Or two if you like things really spicy. I added an extra half of one the second time I made this recipe and it was almost too spicy for me, but I’ll admit to being a wuss with spicy foods.) Finely chop the chile and set aside. Keep the can out because you’ll need it later. There will still be a lot of chiles left over, but you can freeze them for another use.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat in a large pot (with a lid) or Dutch oven. Add chopped chile, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, cumin, oregano and thyme. Cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20-30 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, and cool slightly.
  5. Remove pot from heat to cool for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shred chicken with 2 forks. Cover with foil to keep warm.
  6. Place one-third of the cooled broth mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed broth mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure in two more batches with remaining broth mixture. (This would be much easier if you have one of those handy-dandy hand blenders. I am getting one soon!) Return pureed broth mixture to pan.
  7. Stir in potatoes and corn and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  8. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp. of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add chopped bell pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Stir in chicken and cream, and simmer 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 tsp. adobo sauce from your can of chipotle chiles (if you don’t like things super spicy, start with 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. and taste it). Add in tomato, bell pepper, cilantro, and salt.
  11. Serve with lime wedges. This is also great with cornbread.