Last night was a chilly brisk night (ok, it was 65 degrees, but we live in California so that was brisk for us, go with it!) and therefore the perfect night for soup! I wanted something warm and stew like that has all the comfort food feeling to it but with a kick! Ok, I'll tell you the version I made definitely has a kick! While I'm an Italian wannabe, I think I must have some Mexican in me as well because this was definitely caliente! I will give you the recipe as I made it with a less spicy option if you are serving those with a milder palate! Either way, it is delicious!
All good things start with bacon. So, we are starting with bacon. I like to cut mine up into rough two inch pieces using kitchen shears and then fry them up in a cast iron skillet.
CHIPOTLE CHICKEN, BACON, AND CORN CHOWDA RECIPE:
1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
(you're going to chop 1-3 of the chiles and use some of the adobe sauce separately in the recipe)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 lb bacon, chopped into 2 inch pieces, fully cooked and browned, drained (approx. 3/4 cup pieces)
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large pasilla chile, chopped
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (omit if you do not like things too spicey)
1 teaspooon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
8 small red potatoes, chopped in about 2 inch cubes
4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
4 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded (I used a three cheddar blend)
1 rotisserie cooked whole chicken, meat removed and shredded
2 15 oz cans of sweet corn, drained
1 15 oz can cream style corn
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
juice from 2 limes
Cook and brown your bacon pieces and drain on a paper towel. Set aside the amount you need for the recipe.
Chop up your pasilla chile and red bell pepper into small pieces, roughly 1 inch in size. Finely chop the chipotle chiles. I used three chipotle chiles when I made it. If you want it milder, just use one chile. In the meantime, melt the butter in your dutch oven over medium high heat.
Once the butter is melted, add all your cut up peppers and add the chipotle chile powder (omit if you like your chowda milder), cumin, and Italian seasoning. Add the fresh thyme by scraping the leaves off the stems by pinching the top and running your pinched fingers down the stem. Add that delicious herb to the pan. Thyme is my favorite herb to cook with and it adds such incredible flavor! Saute everything in the pan until the peppers are soft, approximately 6-8 minutes.
Finely chop your garlic cloves and add them to the chowder. Stir the pot and cook for another minute. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir well. Cook for another minute or two.
Next add the milk and broth and stir well. Make sure to scrape all that goodness off the bottom of the pan as you stir. That is flavor bits you are scraping up and you want to make sure you get it all!
You are now going to chop up your potatoes in about 2 inch cubes and add them to your pot!
Bring this mixture to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked all the way through and tender when pierced with a knife.
While that is cooking, remove all the meat from your roasted chicken and shred the meat with your hands. After the potatoes are cooked and tender, add your shredded chicken, bacon pieces and stir. Next, add your shredded cheeses to the pot and stir.
Add in your corn, broken tortilla chips, your adobe sauce, and the squeeze of limes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and your favorite dipping bread warmed up and enjoy!