Chicken and Garlic Chowder

This is one of THE most divine soups I’ve ever made. I’m a huge soup junkie – there is just almost nothing better on a cool night than a rich, savory broth and crusty bread. For this soup, I ended up making the sofrito myself, since I couldn’t find it anywhere (I’m not sure what sort of supermarkets the editors of Food and Wine are shopping at…), but it was easy and I froze the leftovers in ice cube trays to stick into future reprises.

Text below from Food and Wine.

The beauty of this recipe is that it takes advantage of an array of terrific prefab ingredients, from prepeeled garlic and precut butternut squash to rotisserie chicken and frozen sofrito (the Spanish green-pepper-and-onion seasoning paste). Poaching the prepeeled garlic cloves in milk helps bring out an extraordinary depth of flavor.

The gentle flavors of this chowder are best matched by a full-bodied Chardonnay without too much oak. Some of the best examples come from the windy hilltops of the Sonoma Coast, like the clean, refreshing 2004 Hartford Sonoma Coast and the lively 2003 Ramey Sonoma Coast.

5 peeled garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups milk
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
12 ounces peeled precut butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup sofrito (see Note)
One 3 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken—juices reserved, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan, combine the prepeeled garlic cloves with the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat until the garlic is soft and the milk has reduced to 1 cup, about 40 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree it until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, combine the chicken stock, squash and sofrito and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the squash is just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and its juices, the peas and the creamy garlic puree. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer the chowder for 5 minutes longer and serve. Serves 6.

Sofrito is available in tubs in the freezer section of many supermarkets.


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