The combination of a few Indian elements provide a satisfying if not authentic Curried Chicken Chowder.
Some soups lend themselves more to cross-cultural inventiveness rather than history, region or tradition. Chowders are always popular stews for one-dish meals, thickened with dairy and a roux that carries large chunks of any vegetables or meats well and extends the flavors with a thick, filling medium.
This recipe lends itself to no established version, or even to Indian cuisine in general. However, including some elements used in other dishes native to the subcontinent such as turmeric and commercial curry powder gives this soup a flavor reminiscent of Indian-styled meals. With no set recipe, additions and customization are easy.
Also contributing to the ethnic effect are the pairings of sweet apples with more familiar aromatic components of onion, garlic and celery, bringing in notes of a chutney. Evaporated milk, half-and-half or cream further emphasize sweet with savory, and coconut milk can be substituted for an even greater impact.
Root vegetables lend bulk to this stew and, with the protein, make it a complete meal in a single bowl. The chicken is easily replaced with turkey, lamb or even seafood, or leave it out altogether for a meatless dish. With substitutions of vegetable stock and almond milk instead of butter and dairy, it can become completely and satisfyingly vegan.
Serve with crunchy fried sides of samosas or pakora.
Curried Chicken Chowder
4 chicken thighs
1 yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of celery
4 red potatoes
2 green onions
4 c chicken stock
½ c evaporated milk
¼ c flour
2 T butter
½ T curry powder
¼ t cumin
¼ t turmeric
1 Chop the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot, and peel and dice the apple. Sauté in oil until soft, about 5-10 min.
2 Stir in the butter, flour and spices. Add the stock, and stir together into a roux. Dice the potatoes and add to the stock.
3 Add the chicken, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 20-25 min.
4 Remove the chicken and set aside. Shred into pieces when cool.
5 Chop the green onions and add along with cilantro, chicken and dairy to finish. Season to taste.