Thanks to this column, I’m constantly on the lookout for recipes I have never tried. If you look at a lot of food blogs and recipe books like I do, you’ll find several common words and phrases in the titles of recipes.
There are quite a few that include the descriptor “Amish” in the title, and while I’m not necessarily qualified to say what makes a recipe particularly Amish or not, there are some I wouldn’t peg as particularly authentic.
And, of course, people love making recipes that claim to be like “crack.” I’ve also always found that one strange, considering that the bios of most of these online chefs don’t seem to indicate drug problems on their end.
But this week, Joey and I ended up trying to figure out what makes a “chowder” a “chowder,” and after searching online quite a bit, I’m not sure if that isn’t just another random adjective cooks use. The only official explanation that seemed to show up more often than not was that a chowder must be cream based, but folks differed on that rule, too.
I found this recipe on the blog “The Chunky Chef.” You can find the original post at https://www.thechunkychef.com/creamy-chicken-mushroom-chowder/. I changed the amounts of some of the ingredients in my version. I also actually doubled the recipe below to give me some leftovers for the freezer.
Creamy Chicken Mushroom Chowder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas, but use what you like)
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4- cup flour
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 5 medium-sized red potatoes diced
- 3 cups shredded or cubed chicken cooked
- 1 bay leaf
- 2/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
- Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until they’re soft (about five minutes). Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir, cooking for about two more minutes.
- Add the salt and pepper, thyme and flour and stir to soak up any liquid in the pan. Let the flour cook for about one minute.
- Stir in the stock, making sure the scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Add the potatoes, chicken and bay leaf and bring the soup to a very low boil. Let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are to your desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cream and let the soup simmer until it’s hot again.
I went about this a little differently by boiling my chicken in the broth to cook it to start and making my veggies in a saute pan on the side. I did all the steps up to adding the broth in the saute pan and then dumped my veggies in with my cooked chicken that was already boiling in the stock pot.
If you do it that way, you will probably need to add a little water or more broth to the pot.
And while the recipe is called a chowder and does meet a lot of the definitions of what a chowder should be, I’m still not sure if everyone would agree.
What I can tell you is that I’m pretty sure it’s not Amish, it certainly doesn’t mirror any drugs I’m aware of, and it’s an extremely satisfying, good soup, especially when served with a thick slice of crusty bread.
I may never figure out what a chowder is, but it won’t stop me from eating seconds until I figure it out.
This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 14, 2019.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.