The quality of your cooked chicken, as well as the stock or broth, can make all of the difference to the flavor of this soup. Starting with a good quality bird (like Hoe Hop Valley Farm's fresh whole hens) will produce the best flavorful meat, and the best tasting stock. You can substitute store bought broth and cooked boneless portions if you are short on time, but taking the time to make your own stock will produce the richest flavors. Also, most chowders and potato soups are prepared with cream and cheese. In this version, the good quality chicken stock and assorted vegetables create a chowder that is rich and flavorful enough to go without the extra fat and calories in the cream and cheese. However, if desired, a little garnish at the end is decadently rich, but not overpowering.
1-2 lbs of cooked Chicken, leftover from a whole roasted hen if possible
2-4 quarts of good Chicken Stock
2-3 lbs of Potatoes (russet, red, etc.)
1 lb Carrots, chopped
1 bulb of Fennel, diced
4 stalks of Celery, chopped
3 Purple Sweet Peppers, diced
2 medium Yellow Onions, diced
1 Tbs Herbs de Provence
Olive or Canola Oil
8 cloves of Garlic, minced
freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup White Wine
Sauteed Kale, (prepared with oil, white balsamic vinegar, and salt)
Heavy Cream (optional)
Shredded White Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. If they release a lot of starch when chopped, rinse under cold water before using in the soup.
In a large stock pot, saute carrots, onions, fennel, peppers and celery with a little oil. When the vegetables begin to sweat, add a teaspoon or so of kosher salt, herbs de Provence, potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until the potatoes and vegetables are soft.
Remove the soup from the heat and puree (not until completely smooth) with an immersion blender until the soup has thickened a little, but still has some texture and chunks of vegetables.
Return the soup to the heat and warm on low. Add the wine, garlic and chicken. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, then simmer for 15 minutes or so.
To serve, stir a small amount of cream and cheese into each portion (if desired), then top with the sauteed kale.