Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chicken Chowder with Swiss Cheese, White Beans and Butternut Squash

I'll admit that soup has never been really high on my favorite list.  My poor husband, the man who could eat soup each and every day, is a sport though and doesn't really complain about my lack of soup preparation.  However, when a steaming bowl of soup, stew or my favorite combo - "stoup", is placed in front of him, I'm always pleased to see the elation on his face.

As my over-indulgent baking, cooking and eating holiday season has somewhat depleted my urge to spend time in the kitchen, soup has begrudgingly become my unexpected friend.  Easy to toss together, filled with all sorts of ingredients and simple to make large amounts so that I don't have to cook tomorrow, soup has graced our table no less than 3 times in the last few weeks.  I think that might be a record.  And... I think I might even be liking it.

This chicken chowder from Cooking Light is an old favorite, and a note scrawled across the bottom, dating back to 2001, reminds me that my husband proclaimed it a keeper... and keep it we have.  An entire meal in a bowl, the chowder is filled with chicken, beans and veggies, and receives a silky, creamy touch from Swiss cheese and half and half.  The original recipe calls for wild rice, but the Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley that I use adds even more textures and flavors with the addition of brown rice and black barley.

I've been told, soup is good food...

Chicken Chowder with Swiss Cheese, White Beans and Butternut Squash

2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can white beans (Cannellini beans), drained and rinsed 

1 - 2 cups less-sodium chicken broth 
2 bay leaves  
1/3 cup brown rice or Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley
water to cover
2 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold or red skinned new potatoes
2 medium carrots, cubed 
1 cup cubed butternut squash
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley (optional)


Place olive oil in a large pot medium-high heat and add leek. Sauté 3 minutes or until tender and add the garlic.  Sauté for about 30 seconds more then add the white beans, chicken broth, bay leaves and brown rice.  Add water to cover.  Simmer for about 20 minutes (adding more water if necessary), then add in potatoes, carrots and squash (adding more water or chicken broth as necessary). Cover, reduce heat, and simmer another 20 minutes or until tender.


Discard bay leaves. Place half of the potato mixture in a blender, and process until smooth. Return pureed potato mixture to pan - add additional chicken broth or water if too thick for your taste, then add chicken.  Heat for about 5 minutes, then add half and half and cheese and cook over medium heat until cheese melts.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.


Liv Life Note:  I am somewhat sensitive to salt, therefore I usually only use a small amount of chicken broth in my soups.  Feel free to adjust the chicken broth/water ratio to your tastes and preference.  Also feel free to add additional half and half if you prefer an even creamier soup.


  1. Cheese, beans and squash! I'm in! Looks delish Kim! :)

  2. I love chicken soup - but this one is far superior - I love the chunky look of the finished product - so delicious. Will really have to try and make this.

  3. Looks delicious chicken soup,great recipe adding cheese YUmmY.

  4. I think it s so tasty and also healthy soup.. i m on diet... again!!:) so if i avoid oil and salt it d be awesome diet food as well..

  5. This soup looks like pure comfort and love!

  6. Wow, that looks amazing - I love chowders, but have never had them with either beans or squash. Yum!

  7. Wow, that looks and sounds amazing! I love every ingredient in this chowder.... must try soon for sure! Happy 2012!!

  8. I just found a box of dried navy beans in the pantry and I was wondering what I could do with them. I think I will try them in this chowder. Thanks for reading my mind!

  9. I have to say, this looks sooooooo much better than a classic chicken soup! And I need some, to fight the cold... Thanks for sharing!

  10. You've added cheese to chicken chowder... That's all I need to know...LOVIN' this right now!

  11. THis sounds so good. I love the cheese, brown rice medely and butternut squash. I want to try to make a lot of soups, this is on my list!!

  12. I could sooooo go for a big bowl of this soup right about now... I've been craving a chunky, creamy soup since lunchtime, and this one totally certainly fits the bill.
    Plus, I just love the unusual combination of flavours... swiss cheese and beans and squash? Yes please!

  13. This sounds good, but there is no chicken on the ingredients list. I find it odd that it's called "chicken chowder" in that case.

  14. Ugh!!! Thank you SO much for pointing out the chicken omission!! I tossed chicken in at the end, and totally forgot to add it to the ingredient list. So sorry!!! Thanks again for taking the time to write.

  15. Kim this soup look wonderful! Love the addition of Swiss cheese! We are soup lovers so I 'll be def making this for my family! Thanks for sharing and have a beautiful weekend!!

  16. I love butternut squash, but I have a child that doesn't care it. I think I might win him over with this recipe. Yum!

  17. my fiance is a soup fanatic as well! i actually make a pot of soup every sunday to use as lunch throughout the week that i post on my blog... this looks awesome! i can't wait to try it!


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