tags: 30 minute dinner, Amazing, bacon, chicken, chowder, cooks illustrated, corn, Delicious, easy, magazine, quick, roux, soup, summer
I have a feeling that a lot of people that read this don’t actually make any of the recipes, probably because they seem daunting or maybe because you don’t have the ingredients readily available. Perhaps you read this blog not for the recipes but for the witty banter between myself and…. myself. I can understand that, which is why this next recipe is a gift from me to you.
Here is a quick (you can realistically make this in about 30 minutes, maybe 45 minutes if you cut veggies slowly), easy, delicious, richly flavored chowder that makes a great meal in these early summer days when the temperature peaks at 80 but drops down to 60 in the evening. This recipe is loosely based on a recipe i found in a free trial of a cooking magazine that was sent to me by the same people that put out Cook’s Illustrated. I don’t have the magazine in front on me right now and i can’t remember the name, but if the editors of Cook’s Illustrated are reading this i would appreciate it if you would stop sending me amazing food magazines. At this rate i am going to be spending so much money in magazine subscriptions that i can’t afford the ingredients to make the food! Anyways, time to wrangle this steer back on track…
The awesome thing about this chowder is that it has A LOT of fresh vegetables in it - Carrots, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, green onions, and potatoes.
The first thing you need to do is cut everything up and put it in either piles or bowls. Once everything is prepped and you start cooking, this recipe moves really fast. Here we go!
Cut the following and set aside (keeping veggies separated):1 bunch green onions (put the green parts in one pile and the white parts in a different pile)
1 head garlic (i used a garlic press. Put this in the pile of the white parts of the green onions)
3 shallots (diced, put in the pile with the garlic and white green onion parts)
3 mushrooms (sliced, in their own pile) 3 carrots (peeled and cut bite sized, placed in their own pile) 1 small bag (18 oz) red fingerling potatoes (if you can’t find these at your grocery store, purchase 18 oz of red potatoes) cut into 1 inch pieces
Remove the kernels from
1 Ear of corn (or you may use 1 can of corn)
Remove the meat from
1 rotisserie chicken, purchased at your local market
In a large stockpot or dutch oven over high heat, cook
6-8 slices maple bacon (NOT Turkey Bacon! Turkey bacon doesn’t let off nearly enough grease to continue on with the recipe)
until crisp. Remove the bacon with tongs, a fork, or a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Dump the sliced potatoes into the bacon grease and cook for 3 minutes. If the bacon grease is smoking more than a person with glaucoma and a medicinal marijuana license, turn the heat down to medium-high. You want to brown and crisp the potatoes during this time in order to give the chowder more depth of flavor. During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of cooking, throw in a handful of the garlic/shallot mixture. Don’t throw it in too early or it will burn in the high heat.
Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, and then into a bowl for holding if you desire (You can leave them on the paper towels until we’re ready to use them if you desire).
Drop the carrots into the now empty stock pot with the bacon grease and cook them for 2-3 minutes. You don’t want to cook them until they are mushy – just get them started. They will simmer in the chowder for a bit at the end.
Remove the carrots from the pot and set on a paper towel to drain.
Place the mushrooms into the pot and cook 2-3 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove from pot and drain.
At this point you want at least 3-4 tablespoons of grease left in the pan. If not, pour some olive oil into the pan. Now you are going to make a roux. “What’s that” you ask? “How do you pronounce it” you ask? Well I’ll tell you.
A roux, pronounced “roo“, is a mixture of equal amounts of a fat and flour used to thicken. You can use butter and flour, but for this recipe we are using the leftover bacon fat and flour to give the chowder more bang for it’s buck flavor-wise. Since the amount of grease left in your pot is not exact, you need to add the flour gradually until you have a mixture of the right consistency. This also needs to be done relatively quickly so that the roux doesn’t burn (flour burns). This may sound stressful and complicated, but it’s really not. Just have your bag of flour and a tablespoon measure, near your pot and it will be easy as pie.
Ok, so there you are, hot grease in the pot, bag of flour on the counter, and a tablespoon measure in your hand (you should also have a whisk nearby). Add a tablespoon of flour and whisk it in. Keep adding flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it forms a smooth paste that is neither runny nor clumpy or grainy. There are many different colors you can cook a roux to, and the only difference is the amount of time spent on the stove. We are looking to make a blond (lighter) roux for this chowder. Here is a good reference as to what it should look like when it’s done. Keep in mind you want a blond roux, not the dark one. If the flour starts smoking, turn the heat down to medium or medium low. If the flour scorches it’s over! You have to start over (and then what will you do because you won’t have any bacon grease left!?) You must constantly stir it and don’t walk away! Scrape the bottoms and side of the pot with every stir.
When your roux has reached the desired consistency and color, add
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
and whisk until blended with the roux. Add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, the rest of the garlic/shallot mixture, and 2 of the pieces of bacon (chopped up) to the broth. Add1 tbsp rosemary 1tbsp sage 2 tsp salt (feel free to add more to your taste) 2 tsp marjoram
Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add in
1 1/4 cups half and half (you can use heavy cream if you just hate your heart
so much that you can’t stand it anymore)
Add in the rotisserie chicken pulled off the bones and the corn. Simmer chowder for 3 minutes or until chicken is heated through.
When you serve this delicious summer chowder, break up the bacon that you fried earlier and sprinkle it on top of the chowder in individual serving bowls. Also sprinkle the chopped green onions and some shredded cheese and you’ve got a chowdah to die for!