We have had a spectacular summer.  Basically from mid-May through to the early part of August we have had mostly clear and wonderfully warm days.  Yes there have been a few days of rain, and a few days of scorching heat, But really, so much better than last year’s two days of sun.

This morning as I stepped out of the shower, I looked through the bathroom window and noticed the first leaves of fall.  Bright vibrant orangey red leaves on what has been a beautifully leafy green tree.  It’s about to turn, and with that I am excited: the fantastically vibrant colours, warm autumnal winds, cozy sweaters and tea on the balcony wrapped in a blanket.  At the same time morn the splendor that is a wonderful West coast summer.

Thursday rained.  And rained.  And rained.  And then the sun came out.  The air was fresh but chilled.  It was decidedly a soup night.  Warm delicious crusty bread with a chipotle chicken chowder.  Cornmeal back bacon, roasted chicken, red, chipotle and jalapeno  peppers and roast corn come together to warm you through.  I really enjoyed this and will be making variations on it with whatever is in the fridge I am sure over the colder months to come.  For now, let’s hope for the sun again and ice cream worthy evenings!

southwest chowder

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, peeled
2 corns on the cob, BBQ’d and then kernels removed
1 bakers potato, diced finely
1/2 lb smoked cornmeal back bacon, cubed
6 oz chicken, shredded
4 L chicken stock
1 cup cream
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp water
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven pot, sautee bacon on medium heat until fully cooked.  The bacon I used was more like ham, so this was really just to remove some of the fat to add more flavour to the chowder.
  2. Remove bacon, and reserve the fat.  Depending on how much fat is left in the pan, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Add onions and sautee until translucent.
  4. Add to the pot: roasted red pepper finely chopped, jalapeno, garlic and corn.  Allow to cook through and soften – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer.
  6. When potatoes are soft, with an immersion blender, or by carefully transferring the soup into a blender puree. (I pureed it about 85% – i like it a little chunkier)
  7. Add chicken and bacon to the pot and allow to simmer.
  8. Taste, add chipotle peppers, start with one and test.  We used two, but everyone’s heat levels are different.
  9. In a small bowl, make a slurry with the flour and water.
  10. Add cream to the pot, bring to a slow simmer, stirring gently.
  11. Add flour slurry -allow to cook out and thicken for at least 1 or 2 minutes.  The slurry will thicken soup -, it isn’t needed for anything other than the aesthetics of thickening – if you don’t mind it runny – leave it out.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste – enjoy!
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