Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recipe // Rotisserie Chicken + Corn Winter Chowder with Cilantro Puree

You guys.  We've done it.  This is the best recipe for a hearty soup to serve on game day. It's creamy, it's sweet and savory and it will warm you to the core.  The most amazing thing about this recipe is that it just gets better with age.  Which gives you an awesome excuse to make this soup on your own schedule and not anyone else's.  You can make this soup 2-3 days in advance, cool it down in an ice bath, cover it and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to reheat it and serve.  

We had some close friends of ours over for a friendsgiving on the Friday after Thanksgiving and served this soup alongside a simple arugula salad + a crusty sourdough baguette.  It was the perfect follow up to the biggest food day of the year without being too meek to round out a meal. 



I'll just get right down to it and tell you how it's made:

 Rotisserie Chicken + Corn Winter Chowder with Cilantro Puree
(Serves 6-8)
Adapted from Bon Appétit

For the soup:
1 each                     rotisserie chicken from your local market (I prefer Whole Foods plain) 
5 each                     bacon slices, chopped into lardons 
1 tablespoon           unsalted butter
1 1/2 each              medium yellow onion, medium-diced 
1 cup                     red bell pepper (divided) 
1/8 cup                  AP flour
4 1/2 cups              low-salt chicken broth
2 cups                   butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 pounds            russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces 
3/4 tablespoon       fresh thyme, chopped
1 each                  16-ounce bag frozen sweet yellow corn kernels 
1/2 cup                 whipping cream 
1 cup                    green onions, (green parts only) chopped

For the cilantro puree:
1/2 bunch             fresh cilantro 
1 each                  lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons       olive oil 
1 tablespoon         water 

Method:

Pick the chicken in shreds from the rotisserie chicken while it's still warm.  Take special care to remove all of the bones and the skin from the picked chicken.  Reserve the bones for stock and discard the skin.  

Cook the bacon lardons in a large pot over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer the bacon lardons onto paper towels to drain.  Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon drippings from the pot.  Add the butter + melt over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and half of the bell peppers.  Saute until the onions are soft.  Add the flour and stir for two minutes until well-incorporated.  

Mix in the broth, squash, potatoes and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until squash and potatoes are tender.  Turn off the heat. If you have an immersion blender - use it to blend the soup into a smooth puree.  Otherwise, work in batches to blend the soup in your regular blender.  

While the potatoes and squash are cooking make the cilantro puree.  Add all puree ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Put the puree into a squeeze bottle to garnish. 

Put the soup back on medium-low heat and add the corn, cream and bell peppers.  Bring to simmer and then add the shredded chicken from the rotisserie chicken + most of the reserved bacon.  Add 1/2 cup of green onions and season generously with salt and pepper.  Take off the heat + serve immediately or chill in an ice bath to 41 degrees and store in the fridge for up to five days or freeze. 

Garnish with fresh sprigs of cilantro, bacon lardons, green onions and cilantro puree.  


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