Monday, October 28, 2013

Recipe: Pumpkin Chicken Chowder

Every month, at the little pub and restaurant in our little town, people gather for an evening of poetry readings. They bring their own work for the open mic. They listen, rapt, to two poets featured for the evening. The only other sounds in the cozy room are the clink of dishes and the whirr of the dishwasher.

We cook a meal for the featured readers and eat in our home with them the hour before they are due at the pub. We crowd around the table or eat casually in the living room, leaving a window of time at the end of the meal for the poets to gather their set list together. The dishes stay piled on the kitchen counter for a few hours when we leave for the reading — it doesn’t matter.

It isn’t a soup night, in the strictest definition: opening our home to long distance travelers who arrive over the days leading up, first from Pittsburgh, then from Brooklyn, people who will leave again tomorrow. But it is nourishing a community that sustains us and soup makes it easy for us to throw together a delicious, nourishing meal for our guests after a long work day.

Pumpkin Chicken Chowder is built with simple ingredients: stock, onion, garlic, chicken breast, rice. Some veggies. The pumpkin is the surprise: its deep orange-red richness offers a mild sweetness that mellows as the days pass and the chowder grows even more flavorful. Be generous with your seasoning — add cilantro, and a healthy pinch of black pepper. Take a warm bowl or mug in your hands and join your guests in the fading light, draped in wool sweaters on the back deck. To make and eat soup alongside neighbors and travelers, fellow appreciators of poetry or just a small town in the woods, is a special kind of fullness. 

Pumpkin Chicken Chowder

Leftover turkey would also work in this recipe — delicious and quick.

Serves 6–8

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves
6 cups chicken broth
2 (16-ounce) cans pumpkin purée
1 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken, onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Sauté until the chicken is no longer pink, 6–8 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, pumpkin, corn, rice, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir well and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Make ahead? Complete the soup as much as a day ahead; refrigerate.
For large crowds: This soup multiplies successfully.

Recipe excerpted from Soup Night © 2013 by Maggie Stuckey. All rights reserved.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Only four days left! Enter our Stir Up a Soup Night Giveaway by October 31 for your chance to win everything you need to start a soup night of your own (plus a free recipe sampler from Soup Night, just for signing up). 
 The prize package includes:
  • a Le Creuset stockpot and trivet
  • a medley of dried beans and spices
  • a collection of favorite Storey cookbook titles

No comments: