Friday, October 31, 2014

Chicken Chowder for Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I enjoy this festive night. Young ones finally get to wear the costumes they have talked about for weeks, beguiled by the promise of full candy bags and the mystery of a nighttime adventure in streets filled with spooky creatures. Their parents spend the evening juggling tasks: Taking the kids trick or treating, handing out candy, and trying to get everyone to eat a healthy meal before diving into the candy pile.

Yes, grown-ups, this includes you, too. I know the seduction of a full Halloween candy bowl!

To simplify the evening, make a big pot of this easy Chicken Chowder. The recipe features leftover chicken (a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket works), and can be made in advance and kept warm until time to eat.

I made this recipe many times last winter. The Picky Eater loved it, except for one ingredient. He asked, “Why do you put potatoes in it?”

I answered, “Because chowder traditionally has potatoes.”

“I don’t like potatoes in soup,” he said. (This was news to me!) “Can’t you put noodles in instead?”

“Um, sure,” I said. “Then it’s creamy chicken noodle soup.”

He was happy.

Whether you use potatoes or noodles, this soup will fill-up and nourish all the goblins in your house.

(It is also a great basic chowder recipe. Just switch out the chicken for corn, clams, fish or anything else you would like in chowder.)

Chicken Chowder
Serves 6 to 8 people

4 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
4 tablespoons flour
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 to 6 carrots, sliced
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the cut-up bacon and cook until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the bacon fat in the pot. Set the cooked bacon aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and celery. Saute until the onion is tender and translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the onion-celery mixture and stir for 1 minute, until the fat is absorbed by the flour. Pour in the chicken broth, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots, potatoes, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to low, cover and simmer until the carrots and potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the vegetables are tender, add the cooked chicken to heat through. Then pour in the cream or half and half. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls and top with the cooked bacon.     


  1. Such a healthy and nice warm meal for this cold Halloween weekend. Catherine

  2. Looks delicious! My picky eater doesn't like corn in soup "doesn't belong!" Who knew?

  3. Oh, how I wish we had a raft of trick or treaters! But the rural dirt road with no street lights doesn't draw the children ... rats! I still carve pumpkins out for the neighbors, as they drive in from work, though! And we, too, make simple dinners on Halloween! Tonight it's meatloaf and baked potatoes ... throw it in the oven and let it bake up ... Happy Halloween, dearie!

  4. Yum, love chowder. Like your idea to swap out the potatoes for noodles.