Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicken Cheddar Chowder

This weekend, I found myself on the hunt for a thick, hearty soup recipe. The days are getting shorter and cooler, and the trees have passed peak and are slowly losing their brilliance... Now is the best time of year for soup.

I wanted to try something new, so I spent much of Saturday afternoon scouring the Internet (I had all the time in the world, seeing as I was killing time in the WSU library while Gabe scoured SAE articles for his thesis - oh how I don't miss those days!). I finally came across a great find at Inspired 2 Cook that was posted just days ago. I knew it was the one. With a few tweaks to suit our tastes, this one turned out to be a true winner. We'll be enjoying this again and again throughout the upcoming cold winter nights.


2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 c. onions, chopped
3 medium potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 c. uncooked rice
6 c. chicken broth, divided
2 c. evaporated milk*
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbs. dried parsley
4 bay leaves
1 c. (8 oz.) grated cheddar cheese
4 c. cooked chicken, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over high hear, melt butter and olive oil together. Add vegetables, garlic powder, celery seed, dried thyme, salt and pepper and saute until tender (3 minutes). Add bay leaves, rice, and 4 c. chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer until vegetables and rice are very soft (20 minutes). Discard bay leaves.

Transfer in batches to a food processor or blender, blending the soup until smooth. Return to pot. Stir in remaining chicken broth, evaporated milk, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add chicken and stir until fully incorporated. Continue simmering an additional 10 minutes to let flavors meld. Serve with chunky bread or - even better - serve in a bread bowl.

* In many recipes, I substitute evaporated milk for ingredients like heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk (because I usually don't have those items on hand).

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