Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Southwestern Chicken and Charred Corn Chowder

Spring is knocking at the door but Winter isn't gone just yet. Technically Ol Man Winter has a few weeks left and he can still throw a last punch or two on his way out.  Remember that the Blizzard of '93 hit in mid-March.  

So in case you get another cold snap or two, here is a fantastic chowder that we've made a few times this winter.  It's creamy, hearty, and brimming with flavor.  It's not really a true chowder since I don't use a roux but the end result is worthy of the name.  

If you aren't up to grilling a chicken or making the veggies, you can do a cheating version.  You can use a rotisserie chicken instead and use 2 cans of Mexi-corn (corn with chiles) in place of the fresh veggies.  If you do this, cut out all salt until tasting at the end because the processed stuff contains more salt. 

Southwestern Chicken and Charred Corn Chowder

Published 03/07/2016


  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked (see notes)
  • Southwestern Seasoning
  • Seasoning Salt
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 ears yellow corn, shucked and silks removed
  • 1 can yellow corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper or black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 2 slices mild cheddar cheese
  • salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)


  1. Preheat your grill to 350°f and set it up for "raised direct" or grilling on an elevated rack. 
  2. Spritz the chicken lightly with spray butter or oil and then season the chicken liberally on the front and back with the Southwestern seasoning and seasoning salt.  
  3. Place the chicken skin side up on the raised grill grate, close the lid, and cook until the chicken reaches 160°f in the breasts and 175-180°f in the thighs.  On the kamado this consistently runs right at 1 hour.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove meat from skin and bones and tear into bite sized pieces.
  4. Meanwhile fire roast, peel, and chop the chiles.
  5. Grill the corn until slightly charred on each side, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the grill and slice the kernels off of the cobs.
  6. Place the 2 cups of chicken meat, chiles, fresh corn, can corn, soup, stock, seasoned pepper, salt (start light, about 1 teaspoon), and cream cheese in a thick bottomed, grill safe pot or Dutch oven.  Place pot on the main grate of the 350°f grill, close the lid, and allow to cook for an hour once it comes to a simmer.  NOTE:  I cover it covered until it has simmered for about 45 minutes.
  7. Add the sliced cheeses, stirring them in until melted.  Taste for final seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.   
Yield: 6

green egg lighting options, how to light a kamado grill, how to light a grill dome
Firing up the Grill Dome using a MAPpro gas torch - my preferred way of starting up a kamado grill.  I just hit 3 spots around the edges for 20 full seconds each. Other methods include starter cubes, an oiled paper towel "wick", electric starter, weed burner, Looftlighter, and alcohol.  I prefer the torch because I think it's faster and more consistent. Plus dodging the popping coal bits keeps my ninja skills in shape.

butterfly chicken, how to cook whole chicken green egg
To spatchcock a chicken, use kitchen sheers to cut out the backbone (save it for stock).  Flip the bird over and forcibly push down with the heel of your hand on the sternum.  You should hear the ribs crack.  If you are too squeamish, you can ask a full service butcher to do it for you.  

The advantage to a spatchcocked chicken is that it cooks quicker and more evenly because it is flattened out.  In my opinion it's a much more reliable method than "beer can chicken".  

chicken, chicken butchering, best green egg chicken recipe, kamado chicken,
Notice the wings, I fold the wing tips back behind the shoulder like this.  This keeps the wings tucked in so they don't cook too fast compared to the rest of the bird.  

cook whole chicken on BGE, Grill Dome whole chicken, kamado grill whole chicken
The raised direct technique on a Grill Dome kamado grill.  This does a few things. First, it gets you away from the most intense heat of the coals below, allowing you to cook it through without ever having to flip the chicken.  Second, it puts the chicken closer to the reflective heat of the ceramic dome, giving even cooking and crispy skin.

grill vegetables, kamado vegetables, Grill Dome vegetables, primo vegetables
While that was cooking, I fired up the BGE Mini-Max to grill my veggies.  I could do that on the same grill once the chicken was done but if you have lots of grills, you might as well use more than one at a time, right?

kamado grilled vegetables,
Technically this is grilling, not roasting, but whatever.  I love the smell of fire cooked veggies.

grilling vegetables, how to grill vegetables
Don't be shy, you almost can't get chile peppers TOO charred.  You want it black.

kamado spatchcock chicken, BGE spatchcock chicken, Grill Dome spatchcock chicken, Kamado Joe spatchcock chicken,
I didn't use any wood in the coals, but you could if you like.  The smoke here is just rendered fat dropping onto the red hot coals below where the drippings pretty much vaporize.  That's another advantage of the raised direct technique, any flare ups won't burn the chicken. 

kamado spatchcock chicken, BGE spatchcock chicken, Grill Dome spatchcock chicken, Kamado Joe spatchcock chicken,
That is a pretty chicken, isn't it?  I could have just quit cooking here, I wanted to just eat this right on the cutting board.

Brightly colored foods, in general, are supposed to be good for you, right?  Flavorful too.

grill safe grill pot, craycort cast iron grate
I cook it covered at first because a lidded pot gets the chowder up to a simmer quicker, keeps the liquid from evaporating, and keeps it from getting too smoky.  Sidenote:  I've had this bean pot for 5 or 6 years but this is the first time I have ever noticed that it was made in "RANCE".

Once it has cooked for a while, I take the lid off and cook it until it gets to the texture I want.  Now the liquid will evaporate off and the chowder will start to thicken.

kamado soup recipe, leftover chicken ideas, leftover rotisserie ideas
This is our favorite new soup/stew/chowder from this Winter.

Winter recipes, leftover chicken recipe, leftover rotisserie recipe
We came up with the idea of making some blue cornbread mini-waffles for a topping.  But you could use anything you like - croutons, onions, black beans, cilantro, cheese, Mexican crema, etc.

This reheats very well so you can make it ahead of time, making it convenient for fast weeknight dinners.

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