I love soup season. I think that soup is a great year-round food, but some in my family don’t like to see it when the weather gets too warm. So I take full advantage of these cold, snowy months to make and freeze as much soup as possible.
This turkey chowder is definitely one of my favorite soups, and is adaptable to whatever vegetables or meat (turkey vs chicken) you have on hand. It is creamy, filling and has a great southwestern flavor from added green chilies and salsa verde (and some pepper jack cheese).
This soup is also a good example of my procrastination. Within a few days of Thanksgiving, the family was getting tired of turkey leftovers, so I put the turkey carcass in the freezer to make soup with soon. Is January still considered soon? The resulting turkey stock made a great base for this chowder, but you could also use canned chicken broth and shredded or diced chicken.
I served the soup with these Cheddar & Herb Drop Biscuits, which were perfect for dipping into all of that creamy goodness.
Southwest Turkey/Chicken Vegetable Chowder
6-8 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped**
1-2 cups shredded cabbage
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup (8 oz) green salsa (salsa verde)
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, undrained
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked turkey or chicken
1 can corn**
2 large carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped cauliflower (optional)
1 ½ cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste (about ½ tsp salt; ¼ tsp pepper)**
In a large stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Drain bacon grease, leaving 2 Tbs drippings in pot. Add onion, celery and red pepper to bacon drippings in the pot. Cook until crisp-tender. Stir in cabbage and cook until cabbage is wilted, but not browned.
Stir in broth, cream and salsa. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in green chilies, turkey or chicken, corn, and carrots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and cauliflower (or any other desired vegetables). Cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Gradually stir in cheese, stirring until melted. Taste and season with salt** and pepper. Stir in reserved bacon, or sprinkle on top of individual bowls of chowder.
**I used turkey stock made from a brined turkey, so I did not add any salt. How much you need will depend on taste and the saltiness of your broth. In place of the corn and red pepper, you can also substitute a bag of frozen corn with mixed peppers.