Dairy-free and gluten-free chicken, potato and white bean chowder. 

Dairy-free and gluten-free chicken, potato and white bean chowder. 

Of course there's no milk or cream! But it still has wonderful creaminess thanks to the white beans. 

I find most of the recipes I try, those that make it to the blog and those that don't, start with a little seed idea. Usually by the time the shopping is done, it's morphed 15 times. This one started out as a Crock-Pot meal, as I thought I was going to be gone in the afternoon and evening, but wanted to come home to a meal. Then, my plans had to change and I was home anyway so it became stove top prep. I was originally going to use shrimp, but switched to chicken. It was going to be Creole, but then I didn't want spicy. Many mental iterations later, we have Chicken, Potato & White Bean Chowder. 

I love potatoes. Don't you? Yes, I did grow up in Idaho. Go ahead and joke. Get it out of your system. I love potatoes not because of some genetic makeup (my mom is Texan), but because they instantly bring a heartiness and texture to the party. If something has potatoes in it, it gives me something to look forward to. A go-to meal around my childhood home was beef stew. It was alright, but I wasn't as fond of vegetables back then as I am now. Plus, my parents used the frozen mixed veggie bag. I know... But there were always potatoes, so I could make it through.

This seems like a good time to talk equipment. I have a few enameled cast iron pieces, and let me tell you, I would bathe and sleep in them if I could. No hype here -- they're simply fabulous for cooking. You get the constant even heat from the cast iron while the enamel prevents sticking and makes cleanup easy. All that to say, for a dish like this one, I highly recommend an enameled cast iron pot. Don't deny yourself any longer.

Now for the chowda. This dish was so pleasing texture-wise, I kept eating it long after I was full because I just enjoyed chewing it. Does that make sense? It will.

Here's what you'll need for 6 regular servings or 4 hearty servings: 

4 TBSP bacon, chopped

1 small-to-medium shallot, finely chopped

1 cup celery (2 stalks), chopped

1 lb. chicken breast cutlets (I bought the ones pounded thin for milanese), cut into bite-size chunks

1 cup dry white wine, I used Chardonnay

4 small-to-medium red potatoes, cubed (soak in cold water for a bit)

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1 can organic white beans, drained

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Heat an enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook for about 4 minutes until it is just starting to crisp on the edges. Add shallot and celery and cook for 7-8 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add chicken, a pinch of Kosher salt and a few twists of pepper. Cook until chicken is just browned.

Pour in wine. Simmer for 2 minutes then drain potatoes from cold water and add them to the pot.

Mix well so potatoes get contact with the other ingredients and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock until contents of pot are just covered. Add bay leaf, return to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. When potatoes are tender, add the white beans, stir well, and cook uncovered a few minutes more. Turn off heat, remove bay leaf, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

One more thing... You don't have to do this, but once in the bowl, a little drizzle of olive oil gives this an extra bit of butteriness that you might enjoy.