Southwest Thanksgiving Panini and Chowder

by on November 13, 2012

Post image for Southwest Thanksgiving Panini and Chowder

Ever wonder how you’d fare on Iron Chef America or Chopped? If you were given random ingredients to incorporate into a creative (and tasty) dish, could you pull it off? Well, I’m about to find out!

Clash of the Cooks

The Southwest Thanksgiving Panini and Chowder you see above is my entry in a fun Chopped-style competition with our local San Diego Whole Foods stores called “Clash of the Cooks”. Local bloggers were challenged to create a holiday inspired dish from these four mystery ingredients from the store:

  • Whale Tails Tortilla Chips
  • Whole Foods Organic 365 Chicken Broth
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Cranberry Sauce

Can you guess how I used each ingredient? I bet I’ll surprise you! Read on to find out how my southwestern-inspired dish came together, but first…let me tell you how you can help me win the competition!

It’s super-easy: just click on the Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook buttons at the top of this post (if you’re reading this on email or RSS, please click through to the blog) to Pin, Tweet or Like it. Remember to use the hashtag #WFMClash in your shares. That’s it – and thank you so much in advance for your support!

Whole Foods "Clash of the Cooks" ingredients

Friends on Facebook and Instagram had all sorts of creative ideas for what to make with these ingredients – everything from a layered turkey enchilada casserole to chilaquiles to a savory pie with a corn chip crust. A suggestion from Jenni Field at Pastry Chef Online particularly stood out to me:

“I’d make a turkey chili w/gouda stock and cran sauce and grind up the corn chips to use as a thickener.”

That last part about using ground tortilla chips as a thickener reminded me of the Sweet Corn Tortilla Soup I had at The Melt last spring. It was velvety, a bit spicy and practically bursting with corn flavor. That was it – I had to make a chowder like that, thickening it in part with the corn chips. The chips gave the chowder a wonderful toasty flavor, and sautéed poblanos brought just the right amount of heat.

And then, of course, I needed a killer sandwich too, right?

I used more ground tortilla chips to crust the outside of the panini, à la my friend Laura Werlin. Not only does this give the bread a great crunch, but the aroma of toasted corn as you bite into the sandwich is beyond incredible. Inside, I layered on some turkey breast, the smoked Gouda and a kicky cranberry relish (which I gave some southwestern flair by by mixing minced jalapeños and orange zest into the traditional Whole Foods cranberry sauce). You could easily make this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce too. Sweet, tart, salty, smoky, crunchy, nutty – this was a true feast for the taste buds.

Here are the recipes, below – and thanks again for your Pins, Tweets and Likes (#WFMClash)!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

>Ready to buy a panini press? Check out my Panini Press Buying Guide for the features to look for.

>Want more panini recipes? See my Recipe Index for a list of all recipes on Panini Happy.

>Traveling to a new city soon? Browse Panini Happy’s Great American Sandwich Guide to find the best sandwiches across the country!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim - Liv Life November 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Fabulous!!! I saw the email, but was actually not brave enough to enter. This is a meal I’d pay top $ for… I really think you need a restaurant!!! Well done!
Kim – Liv Life´s last blog post ..Saffron Rice from an Edible Mosaic


2 Kathy November 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Thanks so much, Kim – that’s so kind of you!! You so should have entered – you probably still can for next week! 🙂


3 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 14, 2012 at 6:55 am

looks and sounds wonderful Kathy!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.´s last blog post ..Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie: Thanksgiving Dessert


4 Kelly Senyei November 14, 2012 at 8:00 am

Oh my word! This looks so tempting! I love the added crunch, and it’s hard to beat the savory-sweet duo of turkey and cranberries!
Kelly Senyei´s last blog post ..Cranberry Orange Juice Bread


5 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies November 14, 2012 at 8:15 am

Good luck with the contest–I just tweeted! I could totally go for a bowl of that soup right now. 🙂
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies´s last blog post ..Recipe | Rosemary Roasted Carrots


6 Mary November 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

Your recipe looks great, Kathy! I wasn’t sure who else was entering so it’s been fun to see what everyone’s been coming up with. I like the tortilla chips on the bread! Good luck 🙂
Mary´s last blog post ..gouda stuffed tortilla chip meatballs with cranberry orange ginger glaze | clash of the cooks challenge


7 Amanda November 14, 2012 at 9:29 am

Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering!! Wish I had this plate in front of me for lunch!! 🙂
Amanda´s last blog post ..My Favorite (and Free!) Travel Apps


8 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective November 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

Ooo, that is one good looking sandwich!
Sommer@ASpicyPerspective´s last blog post ..Roasted Harvest Vegetables


9 Chassie November 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

looks delicious! Love the soup!
Chassie´s last blog post ..bobcats and spritzers


10 Michael Strahs November 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I think you did a great job. Soup and sandwich is an unexpected and delicous take on your assignment. Well done!


11 Brian @ A Thought For Food November 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Good luck! I’m off to pin it!
Brian @ A Thought For Food´s last blog post ..Silent Sunday: The South End – Boston


12 marla November 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post 🙂


13 Kevin (Closet Cooking) November 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Now that is a nice looking turkey and cranberry sandwich!
Kevin (Closet Cooking)´s last blog post ..Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal


14 Christian Rene Friborg November 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Panini and chowder. WOW. This is great! Must try.


15 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious November 20, 2012 at 1:50 am

Amazing! I’m not even looking forward to thanksgiving anymore – I’m looking forward to the leftovers now!

Good luck with the competition! I’m sure you’ll win! 🙂
Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious´s last blog post ..Southwest Quinoa Sliders with Avocado Cream Sauce


16 roz November 21, 2012 at 10:53 am

What a wonderful meal . . . you can come and cook for us anytime! I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!


17 Shannon B December 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Wow—thank you for being so creative! I just made this entire meal, and I am singing its praises. The soup was easy, yet the depth the tortilla chip roux added was intense. Then the panini…..I don’t know if I have ever had a sandwich I enjoyed so much. The tortilla butter on the outside of the bread….genius.


18 Kathy December 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Thank you so much, Shannon – I am so glad you liked it!!


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