Fiesta Chicken Chowder with Cilantro Pesto
1/2 3lb. frying chicken, cooked, boned and torn into small pieces*
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons oil
2 1lb. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans chicken broth
1 small (4 oz) can chopped mild green chilies
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch hot paprika or pure chili powder**
2 cups half and half cream
8 ounces shredded Co-Jack cheese
Sauté onions and garlic in oil until soft. Do not brown. Add the two cans of drained white beans and 1 can of the chicken broth. Heat to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Purée solids with a hand blender or transfer the solids to work-bowl of food processor or a blender.
Add second can of chicken broth, diced tomatoes, chilies, corn and chicken. Heat all to a simmer and add salt and chili powder. Simmer gently for 5 minutes and add cream. Bring temperature back up and serve.
Ladle into soup bowls, spoon a dollop of cilantro pesto (RECIPE BELOW) in center and sprinkle with Co-Jack cheese.
*You may use 1 1/2 cups of leftover chicken, or chicken breast.
If you wish a smokey taste, after you have chicken in small pieces, combine 1-teaspoon vegetable oil with 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke and then sprinkle over chicken and toss to mix thoroughly.
**Pure chili powder has no other herbs and flavorings added.
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/3 cup sour cream
Blend all above ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Mixture may be made ahead and frozen for future use. This is a good way to use up surplus cilantro you may have on hand.)