Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Southwest Cream of Chicken Soup


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If I’m going to use chicken in a soup I always use thighs. The dark meat seems to be richer and more flavorful, making it perfect for a hardy soup or stew. I love the white meat on the grill or when the chicken stands alone, but for a soup I think the dark meat works best. I picked up a package of chicken thighs the other day and decided it was time to make a yummy soup.

I wanted to step outside the box a little and decided to make a cream of chicken. I love homemade cream soups, when it is done right it ads a rich and silky texture that store bought cream soups just can’t match. I added some poblano peppers and took this recipe to the southwest. I included corn, chili powder and cumin for extra wow factor as well.

The end result was a rich and creamy dish with hardiness and spice. It had all the elements of a good chicken chili but with the depth of a delicious soup. This was the perfect late winter recipe containing the flavor of comfort food combined with the warmth of the southwest and coming spring weather.

BEHIND THIS BITE
I really loved this dish. I ate the first bowl in record time. As I just mentioned in the intro, it contained the depth of a good comfort dish but also the warm flavors of spring and summer. I really thought this soup was perfect for March. (But it’s good enough to be eaten anytime of the year)

My mom got a sample and it reminded her of a white chili, which is true, because it contains most of the same elements. What makes it different is the creamy liquid that binds it all together.

This is the second time I have made a cream soup for the column/blog. The first time was a cream of mushroom I made back in 2011. It, like this soup, I devoured like a starving lunatic.

There is nothing like a homemade cream soup, it puts the store-bought canned versions to shame. If you like them canned, you should make a version from scratch at least once. Be careful if you try it though, you may never eat the canned version again.

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Serves 4; 40 minutes
1/4 C Unsalted butter
1/2 C Onion diced
1/2 C Celery diced
1/2 C Carrot diced
1 C Poblano pepper seeded, diced
1 Tbs Garlic minced
1/4 C Flour sifted
2 C Milk
2 C Chicken broth
2 Tbs Chili powder
1 Tbs Cumin
2 lb Cooked chicken shredded
1 can Sweet corn drained
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Create base
In a soup pot over medium heat melt butter then sauté onion, celery, carrot and poblano pepper until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Make Roux; add liquids
Stir in flour until well incorporated, let mixture cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add milk and broth, stir together well so roux dissolves in liquid.

Finish soup
Add spices, chicken and corn to pot. Bring to a simmer and let cook 12 to 15 minutes and soup has thickened.

Serve
Spoon soup into bowls for serving, garnish with fresh cilantro.


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