The word chowder comes from the French chaudiere meaning caldron, which traditionally were the iron pots used to cook soup, and the term refers to a thick soup or stew. This chowder combines two native Southwestern ingredients, chile and corn. The chipotle chile gives the soup a rich smoky taste which compliments grilled foods, but other chiles can be substituted. Jalapeños, serranos, and green New Mexican chiles are also tasty substitutes. This soup can be made heartier with the addition of crab, clams, shrimp, or chicken.
Ancho or pasilla chiles can be substituted for the fiery chipotles if you desire a milder sauce. I’ve even used this pesto on pizza in place of the more traditional tomato sauce for a hot, south of the border taste.
This sauce is wonderful on grilled chicken and firm fish like salmon. Use it as they would in Trinidad to spice up a fried shark sandwich. If you are using whole spices, grind them in a mortar or in a spice grinder. Allspice berries can be found in Latin and Caribbean markets, as well as specialty food stores. Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.
According to Paul Sheehan Jr., owner of Coast Kitchen & Cannery Foods, "After considerable time spent on trial and error, and many additional pounds added, we finally settled on Recipe #17. It's actually one of the simplest recipes we came up with but is one of the best tasting." I've added a sauce, but the dish is also good served without it.
If ever there were a macho potato salad, this is it! Grilled cactus and chopped jicima add an unexpected twist to this warm, spicy red potato salad. To complete the Southwestern theme, these ingredients are tossed in a dressing of freshly squeezed lime juice and adobo sauce mixed with a heavy dose of chopped cilantro. Though the cactus adds a unique flavor to this salad, if it is not available at your local grocery store, it can be omitted.
The use of peanuts, also called groundnuts, in soups and stews is common over all of Africa but is especially popular in the west. "Chop" is African slang meaning food or a meal. The vegetables in this stew can be varied to suit your tastes; if you do, however, eliminate the okra it will alter the consistency of the sauce. The important step to remember in preparing this soup or stew is to mix some of the broth with the peanut butter before adding to the soup to keep it from curdling and breaking apart.