By Dave Lobeck
CNHI News Service
Autumn is the favorite season for many people, including me. To accompany the changing leaves, one also needs a changing menu.
Soups and stews don't cut it in the heat of summer. I find nothing appealing about ingesting near-boiling liquid, other than a morning cup of coffee, when I'm facing a heat index topping 100 degrees.
Autumn is a different story. There's nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cool, crisp evening. Today I share a fantastic chowder recipe.
By definition, a chowder is a thickened soup, often served with milk or cream as a major component of the broth. Trust me when I say this: You will love this chowder, especially if you take the time to smoke the chicken.
You can view a video we made of this recipe by going to www.YouTube.com/BBQMyWay. Type “smoked chicken chowder" in the search window.
Smoking chicken is simple. Set up your charcoal grill with indirect heat, meaning your hot coals are piled on one side of the grill. Sprinkle the coals with hickory chips. Or, slide a hickory log next to the hot coals. Place the chicken on the side of the grill opposite the coals.
We used bone-in chicken breasts. You can use thighs, or an entire chicken for that matter. It is important to use chicken with the skin still intact, as the skin helps retain moisture.
Place the lid on the grill and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The chicken is fully cooked when the temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to cool. Pull the meat off the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard the skin. You'll need roughly 3 cups of cooked chicken.
Cut the bacon into small pieces. Sauté the bacon until crisp over medium heat in a dutch oven or large pot with a thick bottom. Remove bacon and set aside. Take out half of the bacon grease.
In the remaining grease, sauté the shallots until almost translucent. Add the jalapeño pepper and sauté for another 3 minutes or so. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Allow to simmer at a slight boil with lid on.
After 10 minutes, add the corn. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove half the potatoes and set aside. Now, take an immersion blender and blend until
smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
Add the crisp bacon, cooked chicken, thyme, salt, pepper and milk. Add back the potatoes you removed earlier. Bring to a low boil. Serve immediately with chopped fresh parsley sprinkled on top and crusty bread for dipping.
Smoky, creamy and delicious!
A couple of comments: If you don't like spice, don't use the jalapeño. If you like your chowder very spicy, add back some jalapeño seeds or add more chopped jalapeño. But be careful; those little seeds pack a punch.
Dave Lobeck, of Sellersburg, Ind., is a financial advisor, barbecue chef and Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. He writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQMyWay.com.