Packed with robust flavors and a touch of smoky heat, this Chicken Chipotle Pumpkin Chowder is the ultimate comfort food for chilly fall nights. Whether you’re planning a dinner party or seeking a comforting bowl, I guarantee this recipe will hit the spot.
As the temperatures drop and the leaves change color, it’s time to elevate your fall menu with a bowl of pure deliciousness. There’s nothing more comforting than sitting on the couch with a warm bowl of chowder, a blanket over your legs, and a good movie or a good game on TV. That’s why I love fall and cooler temperatures so much. It brings all my favorite things together!
What’s the difference between chowder, soup, and stew?
Chowder is either made with milk, cream, or broth that is thickened with a roux that typically has seafood in it though not always. Soup is made with water, broth, or stock base and can have an array of meats and vegetables in there. Stew is sort of in between the two because it’s made with broth and possibly thickened with roux. However, it’s the ingredients of a stew that’s the main difference.
Stew contains tough cuts of meat that requires braising for long periods of time to become tender. The meat gets a coat of flour before browning. The meat simmers in several hours in either broth or water until the tender the broth is thickens. It’s also made with more root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips than the other two. These vegetables can withstand the longer cooking time of a stew.
Soup is more general than the other two. It’s basically any kind of meat, vegetable, or even fruit that cooked in water or broth. Sometimes it’s even cooked in wine, beer, or juice. Soup is even more forgiving in the temperature. It can be either warm or cold as in the case of gazpacho or fruit soup.
What is chowder?
Chowder is a thick and chunky dish known for its luxurious and velvety texture, achieved by using ingredients like dairy products or pureed vegetables to create a smooth and creamy base. Traditionally, made with seafood, there’s speculation that the word chowder derives from words that mean seafood or fish like jowter which was a word used to describe fish mongers. Or chaudrée which is a word for a thick fish soup from the La Rochelle coastal region in France.
Chowder as we know it today is a dish that was prepared on ships. They combined the easily available fish with root vegetables and thickened everything with hardtack. Hardtack was readily available, too, because of its simple ingredients and ability to store for long periods of time without spoiling. Immigrants from England and France brought chowder the States where it became widely popular for its flavor and its simple preparation.
However, today a chowder can either be a cream or a tomato based thick soup. It can have an array of ingredients like shellfish, fish or other meats like chicken, pork or lamb. While traditional chowder had potatoes and maybe some onions, there are vegetable chowders that have the rainbow in them from tomatoes and peppers to corn and cabbage.
What’s in this chicken chipotle pumpkin chowder?
Besides the obvious chicken, pumpkin, and chipotle there’s onion, garlic, red bell pepper, corn, chicken broth and cream, and a bunch of spices. What most people didn’t think of is there’s fresh pumpkin in here and not canned or pureed pumpkin. You can see the cubes of delicious pumpkin sitting on top there.
Fresh pumpkin tastes so fresh and so much like squash when you add it fresh to this chowder. The slightly sweet flavor pairs well with the spicy chipotle and creamy broth. Try to find the smaller pie pumpkins. They have better flavor and texture than the larger carving pumpkins. If you can’t then try to find the smallest carving pumpkin you can.
I added my typical southwest spices of chili powder and ground cumin. There’s always some garlic powder and onion powder in there. But there’s also some oregano. If you can find Mexican oregano, then awesome! Otherwise just use whatever you have around.
We always have this argument when making chili about the oregano. He doesn’t think there should be any in there. I always sneak a little in there. It’s not going to taste like spaghetti sauce or anything, but it does add a depth to the flavor that isn’t obvious. Sort of like putting bay leaves in a pot roast or stew.
You should always check the heat of your chipotle in adobo. Sometimes they’re extra spicy, sometimes they’re not. You don’t want to add 2 to 3 and find out too late that it’s super hot. So, taste the adobo sauce. If it’s tolerable then add 2 to 3 chipotles. If not, then start with one and go from there.
I find myself more and more using chicken thighs in recipes that aren’t pan fried. They are more tender and flavorful in dishes like this chicken chipotle pumpkin chowder. They also absorb a ton of flavors from the broth in this chowder. So, try some boneless skinless chicken thighs and they might just surprise you!
Yes, you can also use cooked chicken in this chowder. You will follow the recipe just omitting the part about browning the chicken. You will add your shredded, cooked chicken 30 minutes before serving. This will give the chicken enough time to heat through and absorb some of the flavors.
I garnished mine with a lime wedge and some freshly chopped green onions. You can garnish yours with some radishes or cilantro. Or some pepitas! That would be really good. The crunch and flavor of the pepitas would really bring home the whole pumpkin flavor of this chowder.
Some tortilla strips would make a delicious garnish. And so would a little lime crema! Some cotija or queso fresco would add a salty, briny flavor to cut through the richness of the broth. And make sure to serve them with some pumpkin tortillas to dip into the broth.
Packed with robust flavors and a touch of smoky heat, this Chicken Chipotle Pumpkin Chowder is the ultimate comfort food for chilly fall nights. Whether you're planning a dinner party or seeking a comforting bowl, this recipe is guaranteed to please.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds bite-sized boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 4 cups cubed fresh pumpkin
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
- 2 cups thawed, frozen corn
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- lime slices/wedges
- radish slices
- chopped parsley, cilantro, or green onions
- toasted pepitas
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and brown 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the pumpkin, onion, garlic, and spice and cook until the onion and garlic become fragrant; about 2 to 3 minutes. Sadd the chopped chipotle and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the red bell pepper, corn, and heavy cream and simmer an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and the chowder thickens. Stir in the lime juice just before serving.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with lime slices or wedges, sliced radishes, chopped parsley, cilantro or green onions, pepitas, cheese, or anything else you want!
Amount Per Serving Calories 470Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 139mgSodium 472mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 6gSugar 9gProtein 30g
Pumpkin season is here, and we are celebrating our love of pumpkin with #PumpkinWeek hosted by Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. All week-long 11 bloggers will be sharing over 30 pumpkin-filled recipes for all your Autumn celebrations, including breakfasts, baked goods, savory pumpkin recipes, desserts, and drinks.
More #PumpkinWeek Recipes Below:
- Chipotle Chicken and Pumpkin Chowder from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Easy No Bake Pumpkin Mousse Dessert from Blogghetti
- Pumpkin Meatballs in a Creamy Tomato Sauce from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake from The Spiffy Cookie
- Pumpkin Madeleines from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pumpkin Malai Kofta from Magical Ingredients
- Pumpkin Milkshake from Art of Natural Living
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie from Palatable Pastime
- Spiced Pumpkin Butter from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings