Southwest Chicken Rice Chowder.

I’m crediting this recipe to Twitter and day drinking. Both of which I recommend, as long as you do so responsibly and not while at work. Unless your profession requires Twitter, day drinking or a combination of the two.

Vacation is a good thing.

Either way this turned out a lot better than I anticipated, which still surprises me because one of the ingredients is Cheese Whiz. Yep, “cheese” from a jar.

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Southwest Chicken Rice Chowder, makes 4 cups

Ingredients

1 bag rice (The stuff that cooks in 8-10 minutes. I use Success brand.)

1 can cooked chicken in water, with most of the water drained off

2 Tbs. butter, unsalted

1 Tbs. flour

1/2 large yellow/Spanish onion, diced small to medium (Your choice.)

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 small cloves–or 1 big–garlic, ground into paste (I grate it on a rasp or use the stuff from the tube.)

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

1/3 cup Cheese Whiz

1 cup reserved rice cooking water

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp Sriracha (Optional.)

1/4 cup half n half or heavy cream (Optional.)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

1. Fill saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Prepare bagged rice according to directions on package and, when cooked, drain and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. Return empty saucepan to the heat and melt butter. Saute the onion until soft and translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple minutes. Add the flour to the butter and onion mixture and cook into a roux. Cook for at least five minutes to remove the flour taste. Add the reserved rice cooking liquid and cook until thickens.

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3. Add the frozen corn, chicken, jalapeno and rice. Once heated through, add the Cheese Whiz and allow it to melt into the soup, stirring regularly. If you want a thinner soup add more water–use 1/4 cup measurements to avoid making it too runny.

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4. Once the Cheese Whiz has melted into the soup, season with the oregano, Sriracha and salt and pepper. The cream is optional, but I find it really mellows out the Cheese Whiz flavor, which can be a bit overwhelming.

5. Serve hot with garnishes of diced tomato, cheddar cheese, fresh lime juice and green onion.

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