The lure of a supermarket rotisserie chicken can be strong, particularly in the Summer, when the temperature rises. They’re inexpensive (at around seven bucks), they’re easy to prepare (once you open the box) and best of all, they allow you to put a reasonably nutritious dinner on the table without heating the whole kitchen up, spiking the already-sweltering Summer temperatures to oven-like highs.
The downside? They’re usually just not very good. Hyper-moisturized, and tender to the point that if you try and break the bird apart into recognizable breast, thigh, and leg portions, you’re more likely to end up with a pile of gristle and bones in one hand, and a pile of shredded chicken in the other, fat running down your arm and onto the floor. The finished product certainly bears little resemblance to a home-cooked roasted chicken. The meat, while juicy, often doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but by the time you’ve reached 5:00 P.M. on a 95 degree day, you hardly care.
At the risk of venturing too far down the road of Sandra Lee-style “semi-homemade” wizardry, we wanted to find a recipe that played to the unique qualities of the supermarket rotisserie chicken; something that used its strengths (easily broken down, cheap, no cooking) while improving on its weaknesses (flavorless, shapeless).
This warm-weather version of a chicken corn chowder fits the bill perfectly, offering richness and lightness at the same time. The avocado, tomato, jalapeno, and lime toppings here are key, bringing a bright Mexican twist to the soup and making it more akin to a Sopa de Lima than a traditional chowder.
Chicken and Corn Summer Chowder
Adapted from a recipe in The Sunset Cookbook; Serves 6
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Shredded cooked chicken from a 2 1/2- to 3-lb. roasted chicken
- Kernels cut from 3 ears corn
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until fat renders and meat begins to turn brown. Add aonion and cook until soft, about three minutes. Sprinkle flour on top and cook, stirring, until flour barely begins to brown, about three more minutes.
Add potatoes and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and corn, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and stir in cream to taste. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Serve in soup bowls, garnished with tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, a squirt or two of lime juice, and pepper to taste.