Creamy Mushroom Chicken Chowder

My childhood is chock full of memories related to visiting Ventura and Channel Islands Harbor to take our boat and fish. Even if we didn’t go out on the boat, we would head over on the weekends to spend time near the water. During these visits, we would always (appropriately) stop to eat at a seafood restaurant. You know, those places with lobsters in a tank, calamari on the menu, and lots of maritime decor. I would always order the clam chowder in a bread bowl. Seriously though, who doesn’t like having their meal served in something edible? It’s literally the best. The Campbell’s canned soup version was also in frequent rotation at home when I was forced to make dinner for myself.

Due to its heavy dairy content, I have not had chowder in YEARS. Especially chowder in a bread bowl. Bummer of all bummers, I also haven’t a clue how to fashion a quality paleo bread bowl for myself. That seems a bit beyond my scope of skills since I’m not exactly a fantastic baker. If you know of any grain-free sourdough bread bowl makers, please send me their number. (pretty, pretty please!)

Despite my lack of edible bowl, this chowder definitely had me feeling all warm inside. There’s nothing like a big bowl of chowder to satisfy the comfort food craving.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Chowder

Creamy Mushroom Chicken Chowder

2 lb. chicken thighs
1/2 lb. applewood bacon (cook 1/4 lb. and set aside – chop the other 1/4 lb)
1 red onion, chopped small
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. crimini mushrooms
1/2 lb. oyster mushrooms
2 cans coconut milk
1 bag baby kale (about 4 cups)
1 c. broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh minced thyme
2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
heaping 1/2 tsp. tapioca or arrowroot starch
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil and season chicken thighs with some salt and pepper.
  2. Sear each side of chicken and remove to set aside.
  3. Add onions, garlic, bacon, and a little pepper to the pot. Sauté until fragrant.
  4. Add lemon and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden or silicone spoon.
  5. Add thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper, and half of the crimini mushrooms as well as all the oyster mushrooms. Continue to cook until mushrooms are soft.
  6. Add coconut milk and simmer until warm.
  7. Using an immersion blender, pulverize the soup until mostly smooth.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together broth and starch. Add mixture to soup and stir well to thicken.
  9. Add chicken, remaining mushrooms, and another sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Let simmer until chicken falls apart easily (30 mins or so).
  10. Finally add kale and parsley to wilt.
  11. For garnish, chop cooked bacon, a little green onion, and parsley together and sprinkle on top to serve.
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