…and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays… It’s almost spring, but winter is desperately hanging on like a clingy ex-girlfriend. But I can smell the faintest perfume of the new season, and the tree just outside is delicately starting to blush.
But Friday was all pouty clouds and drippy eaves; damp, sulky, and chilly enough for a warm sweater and this creamy chicken chowder.
I developed this recipe a few months ago for Cook’s Country, as a recipe card meant to be completed in 30 minutes or less with 10 ingredients or less. This edition takes its time a little more—chicken thighs are browned so the skin can be reserved and crisped to make my favorite new garnish of chicken cracklings or chicharrones, but it’s well worth the extra effort. The recipe is overall very simple and makes a great weeknight dinner with family or guests. A crisp green salad with buttery croutons and a glass of wine—whisk the clouds away.
RUSTIC CHICKEN CHOWDER
8 slices bacon, finely chopped
6 bone-in skin on chicken thighs, bones removed
Salt and pepper
8 scallions, white parts finely chopped and green tops thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
- Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with slotted spoon. Transfer all but 1 tablespoon rendered fat from pot to a bowl.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Cook thighs, skin-side down, until skin is crisp and golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until mostly cooked through, another 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Remove and reserve skin, then, coarsely chop the meat.
- Drain and discard all fat. Add 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat back to pot. Add scallion whites, carrots, celery, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth, making sure there are no lumps. Stir in potatoes and chicken meat.
- Bring chowder to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely chop reserved chicken skin and microwave until curled up and crispy, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in cream and peas and simmer until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with reserved bacon, chicken chicharrones, and sliced scallion greens.
- Serve with green salad dressed with vinaigrette and croutons
Variation: replace peas with corn, sauté 2 seeded and chopped fresh jalapeño chiles along with the scallion whites, and garnish with 1 cup chopped cilantro.