This Show on the Road

November 12, 2008


Friends, we’re taking this show on the road. Or, more accurately, I already took it on the road. To work, to be exact, on Monday. I took the photo up there just before I slurped down that cup of soup—a chipotle chicken chowder—for lunch yesterday. And all I can say is that it’s a good thing my office has a door, or I suspect I would have gotten some strange looks from passersby for photographing the lunch I’d just microwaved. Oh, and also that I’m glad I just bought a ridiculously large gym bag that has more than enough room for my rather bulky camera (not to mention an unwieldy tupperware of chowder).



Somewhere between tucking my camera back in my bag and unsheathing my plastic spoon, my phone rang, so by the time I got around to my first bite of this chowder, it had cooled a bit. But it was still delicious. I knew it would be, because this was the third batch I’ve made. In less than a month. It’s that good. But because, these days, the sun starts to set at 4 PM (I really, really wish I were kidding), I made the first two batches in the dark of night. And since I try not to take photos after dark, we spooned up the first two big pots of this chowder with not even one photo to prove it.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)


When I started in on batch number three, I was wracked with guilt. I felt so greedy hoarding this soup for ourselves without sharing it with you. So, I made the third batch last Sunday afternoon, a dreary day when dusk seemed to creep up closer to 3 PM. (When, oh when, is a girl to blog?!?) I snapped a couple shots before the daylight disappeared for the evening, but never got a shot of the final product. Hence the at-work photo shoot. I hope this doesn’t become a habit. I’m thinking it’s time to invest in a quality flash, yes?


But back to the soup. It’s an interesting recipe. It relies heavily on one lonely chipotle pepper, which somehow manages to infuse its way into every single sip of this soup. You start with some oil in a hot pot and toss in that minced chipotle along with soup’s favorite vegetables (carrots, onions and celery) and six (!) cloves of minced garlic. Let those cook until they are nice and soft, add some dried herbs and a stream of chicken broth. After that simmers for about a half hour, whiz the whole thing in the blender. If you’re like me, you’ll be skeptical of that last step. But the whirred-up carrots stain the broth a warm orange color and the pureed vegetables give the soup some body. And you will have blitzed the chipotle pepper into a million bits that will send smoke and heat throughout the broth. So, go with it. Next, add some shredded chicken (an excellent use for leftover roasted chicken) and cubed red potatoes and let the pot bubble away until the tip of a knife slides easily into the potatoes. The chowder, thanks to the pureed vegetables and starchy potatoes, will already have taken on a velvety texture, but swirl in a glug or so of heavy cream just to be sure. A final sprinkling of cilantro speckles the chowder with green and lends the soup a bite of bright freshness.


Eat immediately (I suggest topping with a plop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, cool slices of avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice), but be sure to brown bag the leftovers. It makes an incredibly hearty, comforting, lunch that will nourish you after a hard morning’s work (not to mention photo shoot).

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 chipotle chile canned in adobo sauce, minced, plus 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 lime wedges
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped chile, adobo sauce, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed broth mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure in two more batches with remaining broth mixture. Return pureed broth mixture to pan. Stir in potatoes and chicken; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cream and cilantro; simmer 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.


25 Responses to “This Show on the Road”

  1. April Says:

    I can’t wait to try this! It looks delicious. And yes, if blogging is becoming difficult due to the sun setting earlier, please let me know where to send the check! I’m sure we will all invest in quality flash! We can’t go without the Kitchen Sink and “food porn”!! (:

  2. canarygirl Says:

    Ooooh! Looks good! And am giggling just a bit about the work photo shoot. 😉 Can’t wait to dive into your French Silk pie today!

  3. Amanda Says:

    I agree with the photo-sunset dillemma. Sometimes, the cakes and cookies don’t make it till the next morning so sadly they don’t get a blogging spot:(Now I just wait till the weekend. Although, the whole dark-at-4p.m. is a LITTLE weird, don’t you think? It totally throws my whole night off. I feel like it’s time to sleep and then I look at the clock and it’s 7!

  4. sue bette Says:

    I am a huge chipotle fan but often can’t resist adding more than the recipe calls for which has led to a few spicy disasters.
    I took the plunge and bought the flash – it is TOUGH to work with and I am still trying to get the technique down.

  5. That looks like the perfect soup for these upper 30s rainy/crappy days we have been having. Most of my classes this semester start after 4 pm so I don’t think I will ever been cooking and blogging with natural light. Granted I am still trying to figure out how to use my little point and shoot to its full potential, but the dark is not helping.

    Oh Chicago winters…

  6. Chris Says:

    This is totally our kind of recipe. 🙂 Thanks for posting, I’m sure we’ll be making it soon — these rainy, early-sunset days definitely call for soup!

  7. This soup looks incredible. What a lovely way to use cooked chicken. I’m with you on the too-early dark nights – we eat dinner late as it is and it really has an effect on the photos!

  8. Dawn in CA Says:

    Hi Kristin – nice post. I am totally on board with the brown-bagging concept, having found that the food I bring from home is usually far superior to whatever I might grab from a nearby sandwich shop or food court. Adding this soup to my “list.” 😉

    In response to your photography comments: have you ever checked out the Pioneer Woman’s blog? Not only is it beautiful, varied, and extremely entertaining… she also has a whole section on photography. She is self-taught, and has some really great tips on equipment, technique, and yes — lighting. Not that you need it (your photos are gorgeous) but it’s always fun to peek into a new corner of the blog world!

  9. Dawn in CA Says:

    P.S. – I am really liking the simplicity of your white design now, and can hardly even remember what your “old” blog looked like.

  10. Monica h Says:

    I have eaten many foods that never got their picture taken or blogged about 😦 And I just don’t like flash photography- it always creates weird shadows.

    This looks yummy!

    Please come over, I need help with a project!!!

  11. Oh wow – this looks SO good!!! My husband is going to love this (he loves soups/chowders/stews of all kinds!). Can’t wait to try – thanks!

  12. Michelle Says:

    This soup looks delicious. I need to find those canned chipotle peppers. I used to put them in everything but my grocery store stopped carrying them. This is motivation enough to scour the city!

    Your pictures still look beautiful. I hear you about the lack of daylight. It seems like my kitchen only gets an hour of sun these days – not good for blog photos (not to mention my camera is a POS as it is).

  13. Anna Says:

    This looks awesome, and like a perfect defense against the damp days we’ve been having. It also reminds me that I’ve been looking for a good tortilla soup recipe. Have you found one you like?

  14. Melissa Says:

    Damn, Kristin. It’s getting to where I’m snagging as many recipes from you as I do from Elise @ Simply Recipes. I just love your food. 🙂

    This is a winner for me, and I see it totally as a pot of weekday lunches for me and Steve. I can use more good ones like this.

    …and 6 cloves of garlic? Sounds great! 😀

  15. matt wright Says:

    This looks delicious! Great photos too.

  16. I newer made chowder, must look up Google to find out what it really means, but it looks really comforting and would love to have some of it now…. weather here is truly Autumny … I made chicken soup with lentils, ginger and cardamoms last night to keep us warm.


  17. dlyn Says:

    Oh my – this looks so good. I will definitely be giving it a try.

  18. Robin Says:

    Now that’s dedication to the blog there. 🙂

    What a cute tupperware!

  19. eggsonsunday Says:

    How funny – this very recipe is one that has been making the rounds in our kitchen for about 3 years now, ever since my aunt passed it along to me…it’s one of my husband’s favorite dinners!! Goes *great* with some cornbread on the side – I love it! -Amy

  20. Gena Says:

    Alex made this tonight. Probably one of the best things I’ve eaten in ages. It is so hearty, and filling, and just about all a girl could ask for on a cold night after a long day. My new must have for the winter season.

  21. gaga Says:

    Yum. Chipotle is such a great flavor to make a soup out of!

  22. Joshua Says:

    I made this last week and it’s incredible! The only thing I would change is to double it next time!! It’s definitely going into my soup rotations. Thanks for this great blog!

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  23. vinylhaven Says:

    just made it. i added just a few extras: a splash of white wine to the stock and a splash of grappa, (used it in a chicken dish last week, added more complexity) pureed most of veggies with hand blender, but kept some carrot intact, thought it needed to be thicker so added cornstarch). it’s good, perfect heat quotient, but still needs more depth. i don’t know what i’m searching for. i made homemade ck stock and poached my chicken from those bones in the stock which was fine. just hunkering for more.

  24. Jen Says:

    Oh my gosh! This chowder is wonderful, both in simplicity and taste. One of the steps I added to mine was the addition of a bay leaf to the chicken broth and veggies, this was removed just before blending. I also added a bit more adobo sauce for heat.

    The next time I may forgo the cream and add a few more carrots and maybe a few potato chunks before blending, this will give you the thickness without the fat.

    There is one thing I did not like …. I halved the recipe and regret not making more! This will go into my recipe box and will become a staple dish. I can’t wait to have this again! Thank you.

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