Tag Archives: chicken

Asparagus and Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Greek Yogurt

Work’s been good this past month so I was feeling a bit ‘spendy’ when I went grocery shopping.

My grocery list had ONE item on it … MILK … but I ended up spending $60 on various extras including a box of ice cream drumsticks. (SO bad … but it was a PROMO sale.)

I decided to skip replenishing my stock of potatoes so meals in the week ahead are going to feature pasta and rice side dishes. I was going to start with a chicken Alfredo. Unfortunately, it turned out that that carton of whipping cream that I was sure I had in the back of the fridge … wasn’t there.

Substitution time.

A fast search on the net and I ran across a recipe for an Alfredo sauce using Greek yogurt. I also added a couple of ounces of cream cheese and, of course, Parmesan cheese, to the sauce.

Greek yogurt … I had strained it previously because I wanted a nice thick yogurt for something else, so I had to add more pasta water than expected to thin it down enough for the recipe below.

The result was delicious, and I didn’t miss the whipping cream at all.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus and Chicken – serves 4

300 gm fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti pasta
1/2 pound (~230 gm) chicken breast, cubed**
1/2 pound (~230 gm) asparagus stalks, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces

** I had a couple of chicken cutlets that I had prepped and frozen, so I used those.

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water for use in the Alfredo sauce below. You’ll start with 1/4 cup but if your sauce tightens up you may need to add more.

NOTE: An easy way to cook your asparagus is to add it to the pot of pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking time. It will be tender but still have a bit of crunch and retain its green colour.

Greek Yogurt Alfredo Sauce

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper (use white pepper if you want a whiter sauce)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup white wine (or pasta water, vegetable broth or chicken broth; the broth will make the sauce less white)
2 oz (~60 gm) Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed
1 oz (~30 gm, 1/2 cup) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Additional grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Melt the butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken and asparagus and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top. Saute until the chicken is lightly golden and no longer pink inside and the asparagus is tender, but still a bit crunchy. Remove the chicken and asparagus to a small bowl and reserve.

Lower the heat under the saute pan to medium and add the minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the wine (or pasta water) and scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up the fond (bits of browned chicken and garlic). Whisk in the cubed cream cheese until it melts into a ‘sauce’. You may want to add a bit more pasta water at this point to help. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool enough that the yogurt won’t curdle.

Whisk in the yogurt and the grated Parmesan cheese and then return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Add the reserved chicken and asparagus and stir constantly until the Parmesan is mostly melted into the sauce, 3-4 minutes. Do not let the sauce come to a simmer or boil as this could cause it to curdle.

Add the cooked pasta to the saute pan and stir so that the sauce will coat the pasta. Add additional pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.

Serve and garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Chicken, Corn and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Recently I cooked up the last of my tri-colour quinoa and used part of it to make shrimp and Chinese sausage quinoa fried “rice”. I set aside a cup of the cooked quinoa and finally used it up this past weekend to stuff some sweet peppers that had been lingering in my vegetable crisper drawer.

Warning: Times and amounts in the recipe below are rough estimates based on scaling up the recipe for four people and your particular oven.

Chicken, Corn and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers – serves 4, 2 pepper halves per person

1 small onion, small dice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 medium sweet peppers, orange, red or yellow
1/2 lb ground chicken, breasts, thighs or both
1/2-3/4 cup corn kernels (cut from one cob of corn)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2-3/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper)
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
2-3 thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish

NOTE: The peppers and filling may be prepared and assembled the night before, covered and refrigerated and then baked the next day.

Cut the peppers in half, removing stems, ribs and seeds. Place into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large saute pan over medium/medium-high heat, saute the diced onion in the vegetable oil until the onions are translucent and just picking up some colour around the edges. Add the ground chicken, season with salt and pepper and saute until no long pink. Add the corn and cooked quinoa, mix through the chicken and onion and saute for a few minutes until warmed through.

Stir in half a cup of marinara sauce, mix thoroughly and, if it seems too dry, add a bit more of the marinara sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Spoon the filling into the pepper halves. Add about 1/4 cups of water to the baking dish to help with cooking/steaming the peppers and cover tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. If you’ve refrigerated the dish, you’ll likely have to add an additional 10-15 minutes to the bake time.

Remove the foil and add about a tablespoon of cheese to the top of each stuffed pepper half. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you want a bit more colour, you may turn on the broiler on high for a few minutes but, watch carefully, so that the cheese doesn’t burn. Serve while hot with a sprinkling of sliced green onion.

Paprika Chicken (Paprikás Csirke)

Whole chickens were on sale this week at $1.67 CDN per pound … so I bought two for just under $13.

I usually spatch-cock or joint my chickens but I decided to roast one whole (1 hr at 400 deg F, covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, and then uncovered at 375 deg F, for 45 minutes) … on an actual roasting pan from my mom’s place, for a change. It was seasoned very simply with dried oregano and parsley and salt and pepper. A sprinkling of sweet paprika helped give it a beautiful bronze finish. A delicious smelling and looking dish.

But the ‘pièce de résistance’ was Paprikás csirke (pronounced paprikash cheerke). This classic Hungarian dish combines fall-off-the bone tender chicken with a creamy sour cream based sauce served over nokedli, mashed potatoes or plain rice, as in this case.

Paprika Chicken (Paprikás Csirke) – serves 4-6

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 3 1/2-4 pound chicken, jointed
1 medium sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow, or Hungarian yellow), small dice
1 medium onion, finely diced or grated
2 tbsp sweet paprika, Hungarian if possible
1 large, peeled and seeded tomato, diced or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp salt, plus more, if needed
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more if desired to serve
1 tbsp flour
water as needed

Cut the chicken breasts in half. If they’re particularly thick, cut them in thirds so they can be submerged in the stock. Sprinkle the salt over the top of the chicken.

In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, heat up the oil and saute the onion and sweet pepper for about 5 minutes until the onions get soft and translucent.

Add the sweet paprika and toast it in the oil for a minute or two.

Add the diced tomatoes with juice and the chicken stock.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and add enough water to just barely come to the top of the chicken pieces (about 1 cup.) When the liquid comes to the boil, cover the saute pan with the lid and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. Every 15 min, check to see that the chicken has not stuck to the bottom and that the liquid hasn’t evaporated. If too much liquid has evaporated, add a bit more water to the saute pan. Turn the chicken pieces a couple of times to make sure that the thicker pieces cook evenly.

When the chicken pieces are tender, remove them to a dish or bowl and reserve.

Remove the saute pan from the heat and using a stick blender, puree the vegetable mixture until it’s relatively even. (You can put it into a stand blender or food processor too.)

In a medium sized bowl combine the sour cream and the flour. Whisk together. Add a ladle full of the vegetable puree to ‘temper’ the sour cream so that it will not curdle. Stir well, add another ladle full of the puree and stir again. Pour the flour/sauce mixture back into the saute pan with the rest of the puree and place the reserved chicken pieces on top.

Tempering the sour cream

Return the saute pan to the heat just until the chicken is warmed through. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed.

Serve the chicken and sauce over nokedli, mashed potatoes or rice. Polenta also makes a wonderful base for the paprika chicken.

Paprika Chicken ready to serve

Roast chicken

Chicken Cordon Bleu (“Blue Ribbon” Chicken)

An old style ‘fancy’ dish which is actually very simple to assemble ahead of time and then finish off by crumbing and baking.

I’ve seen it napped with a white sauce or gravy but the honey mustard sauce that the blogger at “Lemon and Mocha” used is a perfect accompaniment to cut through the bland richness of the chicken and cheese. The chicken roll is baked rather than fried making it more diet-friendly.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu – serves 2

2 chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/16 of an inch
2 slices of deli Black Forest ham
2 slices of provolone cheese (Swiss, Edam or even Havarti would work too)
salt and pepper

Crumb coating ingredients:

In 3 separate shallow pans (pie pans work), assemble the following.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg, whisked together with 1 tsp cold water
1/2 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs (or toasted Panko bread crumbs)

Pound the chicken cutlets carefully between two sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper, to minimized the mess. Be careful not to make holes in the chicken.

Preheat the oven to 375 deg Fahrenheit.

Season the chicken cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper. Place one cutlet at a time on your work surface and cover with one slice of the ham and then a slice of the cheese. Roll up (narrow or wide end of the cutlet, it doesn’t really matter) the chicken and use a toothpick to ‘pin’ the roll up. NOTE: You can cover and refrigerate the rolls at this point if making ahead.

Dip one roll at a time into the flour, coating it evenly. Shake off the excess. Dip the floured roll into the beaten egg, allowing the excess to drip off. Dip the roll into the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on your baking sheet. (I just placed one of the sheets of parchment paper I had used to pound out the chicken on a pie plate and then threw the paper away after baking.)

Bake for 30 minutes or until the breast is firm but still has a bit of bounce to it when pressed down with a finger. If the top isn’t as golden brown as you’d like, turn on the broiler to high and bake for 2-2 1/2 minutes until the crumb coating is as dark as you’d like. There may be some darker areas but as long as it’s not burned, it’s fine.

Honey-Mustard Sauce

Honey-Mustard Sauce – makes a couple of tablespoons, enough to dress 2 chicken rolls

1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon or French’s mustard

Whisk together in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Spoon over the hot chicken roll.

NOTE: This would be great as a dip for chicken tenders/fingers or as a salad dressing over fresh greens.

Edited: Chicken and Dumplings (Trial #1)

Chicken and dumplings were on my bucket list … sort of. As in, I have wanted to make them, for some time, but I didn’t actually write them down on my ‘official’ bucket list.

Recently, someone posted a picture on FB and, since I had six chicken drumsticks thawing in the fridge, and all the other ingredients needed, I thought I’d finally give it a try.

The dish is a soup but I’ve seen a thickened version which is almost stew-like. I found a nice simple recipe online … and then I messed with it by deciding to thicken it with a ‘beurre manie’, a flour and butter paste. I combined a tablespoon each of the two until it formed a paste and stirred about a third of the mixture into my chicken soup. But then, I said what the heck and stirred in a bit more. At the end, I had added the entire thing. A bad move it turned out.

I had concerns about the dumpling part of this dish, too. There are two versions. A batter that’s scooped onto the top of the simmering soup and allowed to steam with the lid on until set. And a rolled out thick ‘noodle’ which cooks in the broth. You need both a big pot of soup stock for this latter version, and time to roll it out and cut it. Neither of which I had. So I went with the steamed batter version. At least this part of the dish turned out well. Another possible problem, along with thickening the soup too much, was my choice of cooking vessel. I used a large (11 inch diameter) saute pot which meant that the soup level was fairly shallow and the large surface area meant that a lot of the liquid evaporated even with the lid on.

While steaming the dumplings, I lost even more liquid to the dumplings, and the thickening soup stuck to the bottom of the pan and scorched. I couldn’t lift the lid but I shook the pan several times to free any dumplings. The dumplings didn’t stick … but the ‘soup’ did because by that point I had something that was more like the filling for chicken pot pie in density.

On the plus side, it was all edible. Even the scorched bits.

It was also saltier than I would have liked.

Oh well.

Chicken and Dumplings

NOTE: The recipe below doesn’t use a thickener for the soup.

Chicken and Dumplings – serves 3-4 people

Chicken Soup

2 tsp vegetable oil
6 chicken drumsticks
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled, medium dice
2 celery stalks, medium dice
1 clove garlic clove, peeled and smashed but still intact
4-5 cups chicken stock, divided (edited: increased from 3 cups)
salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper to start)
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tbsp dried parsley

Over medium heat saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic clove until the onions start to caramelize on the edges. Remove the vegetables and brown the chicken drumsticks on both sides.

Return about half of the veggies to the pot (retain the rest of the veggies until the last 15 minutes so they’ll still have some texture), four cups of the chicken stock, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and parsley. Bring to the boil, cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken at least once.

Remove the garlic clove and discard.

Remove the drumsticks to a large bowl and take the meat off the bones. Discard the skin and bones and shred the meat. Return the meat to the saute pan along with the reserved vegetables. Simmer for another 15 minutes. If the soup looks like it’s reduced too much, add the reserved cup of chicken stock.

Make the batter for the dumplings and spoon rounded teaspoonfuls over the top of the soup, leaving some space between the dumplings so they can swell during cooking.

Place the lid on tightly and steam for 15 minutes, shaking gently a few times to reduce the chance of scorching.

Dumplings – makes 12 dumplings, serves 3-4

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter or margarine

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley.

Cut in the butter.

Stir in the milk just until the flour is moistened.

Drop heaping teaspoonfuls batter on top of chicken mixture. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. (I steamed them for the full 15 minutes.)

Serve the chicken and dumplings topped with additional chopped parsley.

Harissa Chicken Kofta

Kofta are a popular Middle Eastern dish of ground (minced) meat, ie. lamb, chicken, beef or even pork, which may be shaped into meatballs, patties or loaves. Or sausage shaped and threaded onto skewers and then grilled. It’s the latter that I decided to make and bake off in the oven, as winter in Ontario, Canada is NOT a good time to go outside and fire up your barbecue.

Harissa is a spicy chili pepper paste common to the Middle East (Tunisia) which gives flavour to the blandest of dishes. I recently bought a dry spice blend at Bulk Barn and decided to give some zip to my chicken skewers by adding a generous amount to the meat mixture along with some other spice blends from my pantry.

Harissa Chicken Kofta

Harissa Chicken Kofta – serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks roughly one inch in size
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Harissa spice blend
1/4 tsp Chicken shawarma spice blend
1/4 tsp Bharat spice blend

Preheat oven to 425 deg Fahrenheit.

In a food processor add all of the above ingredients and pulse until you get a relatively homogenous mixture with some texture left to the meat.

Divide into four portions and with wet hands, form into 4-4 1/2 inch sausages. Thread onto soaked wooden skewers and place onto a baking sheet lined with a sheet of aluminum foil generously coated with vegetable oil.

Bake for 20-25 min, turning after 10 minute, until set with some bounce left to the meat. Turn on the broiler and broil for a couple of minutes until lightly browned.

Serve with the starch of your choice … roasted potatoes, rice or couscous as a main dish.

Chicken and Veggies in Black Bean Sauce

This is one of the easiest and fastest stir fry Chinese dishes I know how to make. For some reason I often make the beef version and then overcook the beef resulting in a chewy dish. You won’t have that problem with chicken. I used some of the trimmings from preparing chicken cutlets and made Panko breaded and baked chicken fingers from the rest.

ETA: I just realized that I’ve posted a version of this recipe, with slight variations, three times (once every year) and always with chicken. I guess I’m getting old and forgetful. Or I just love the dish so much that I want to encourage people to give it a try. Pick your explanation.

The recipe below is a basic one which may be adjusted to the amounts of meat and vegetables (use your favourites)  you have or prefer. I didn’t have any peppers so I left them out.

Chicken and Broccoli in Black Bean Sauce

Chicken and Veggies in Black Bean Sauce – serves 2-3

1 tbsp vegetable oil
~1/2 pound (200 gm) boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs
1 tbsp black bean sauce, with or without garlic
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin or sake (substitute with about 1 tsp of sugar if you don’t have either)
1/4-1/2 cup water
1/2 medium onion, sliced in thin strips or substitute with 2-3 stalks of green onion, cut 1/4 inch long on the diagonal
1 thumb’s length (~1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped, if black bean sauce doesn’t have any (optional)
1-2 peppers (red, green or yellow)
1-2 stalks broccoli, florettes and stems
salt and ground black pepper, if needed

Other optional protein choices – pork (tenderloin), shrimp or tofu

Thickener for sauce:

1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 cup cold water

Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Preparing the vegetables:

Cut the broccoli florettes off the stems, about 1 1/2 inches in length and break up into manageable pieces. Peel stems and cut into planks of about the same length and 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.

Core and seed peppers and slice into same thickness as the broccoli stems

Peel onion, if using, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Preparing the chicken meat:

Slice chicken into strips 1/4-1/2 inch thick and about 1 1/2 inches long, as with the veggies.

Cooking the dish:

Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan or wok over medium high heat, add the sliced chicken and cook just until no longer pink. Transfer meat to a bowl and reserve. In the same saute pan, add the sliced onions, ginger and garlic and saute until the onions are no longer translucent.

Add the broccoli and 1/4 cup of water, cover with a lid and let steam for 1 1/2-2 minutes until the broccoli is a bright green but still crunchy. Add the pepper strips and toss through, cooking for another minutes or so.

Return the cooked chicken to the pan, along with the black bean paste, mirin, oyster and soy sauce and stir together.

Stir the cornstarch/water mixture until it’s smooth and pour into the middle of the saute pan. Watch carefully as it bubbles and thickens. Stir the sauce so that it coats the vegetables and meat. If needed add the remaining 1/4 cup of water, or more.

Taste the meat and vegetables adding salt and pepper, if needed. You may also add an additional dash or so of soy sauce.

Serve the chicken and veggies over rice noodles or noodles.

Leeks (Roasted) … A Versatile Veg

My Saturday grocery shopping had been skipped and there wasn’t much chance that I was going out on Sunday either. I had chicken drumsticks marinating in a spicy Korean mixture with gochujang, garlic, ginger, honey and some other goodies for a type of ‘stew’. And, I had some leftover plain white rice that I could serve them with. But what veggie dish could I include, was the burning question?

A recent purchase of three beautiful leeks meant that after making a pot of mapo tofu, I had two more leeks to use up.

So I went net surfing and found great ideas for using leeks. Some weren’t useful immediately, because I was lacking critical ingredients (or I wasn’t in the mood to go outside and grill on the bbq) but I COULD adapt others. I’m writing down a a few ideas and links from the former category, by the way, for the next time I have leeks. This is the simplest vegetable side dish with leeks that I could find. Simple is GOOD, yes?

Yes, leek soup WAS one of the recipes I found but I don’t have any potatoes for thickening.

Roasted Carrots and Leeks with Fresh Thyme

It’s cold outside but my hardy little thyme plant is still alive so I went out and cut a few sprigs. Salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil over the top, then the carrots were roasted in the oven, while the chicken drumsticks were braised. I only removed one of the outer layers of the leek, so it was a bit “chewy” like with unpeeled older asparagus stalks, but still very tasty.

Ready to roast at 350 deg F for 45 min or until tender and slightly caramelized.

Spicy Korean Braised Chicken Drumsticks – thighs are good too, skin on or off

August/Summer Wrap-Up … Butter Saffron Basmati Rice and Pepperoni Pizza Sourdough Bread Loaf

PICTURE HEAVY WARNING

Summer has been much too short. Of course, I didn’t get much accomplished. In fact, I can’t even remember the semi-ambitious plans I had made.

Next year, I’m going to have to make and post a list of To Do‘s to keep me on track.

I hope work calls are more frequent this fall than last year and that my insomnia doesn’t flare up again. Going to bed at 5am is a bad habit and I need to get my sleep patterns back on track if I keep getting 6am phone calls to work.

And now, for a quick clear out of dishes I’ve cooked and pictures that I haven’t shared in August. Posting should slow  down quite a bit as work starts again.

I made butter saffron basmati rice with which to serve some leftover green chicken curry.

Butter Saffron Basmati Rice – ~3 cups

1 cup basmati rice
1 1/3 cup water
1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp salt

Saffron garnish
pinch or two of saffron threads
2 tbsp boiling water

Combine the boiling water and the saffron threads in a small bowl/ramekin and set aside.

Cooking the rice:

Wash the rice in several changes of cold water and then pour into a colander and drain.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the drained rice. Saute for a minute or two. Add the water and salt to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to the minimum setting on your stove and cover.

Cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the rice continue to steam for another 5-10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork. Every rice grain should be separate from every other. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle the saffron over the top.

Serve.

I tested the suggestion that using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in my sourdough baking would give me better oven spring. The result did not bear that out but as I made some other changes to my ‘go to’ no-knead sourdough recipe, they’re not conclusive. The add-ins (1 oz diced hot pepperette, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, 2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 tsp Italian herb seasonings), at least, gave me a very tasty, if flat, oval loaf of pepperoni pizza bread.

It was great as a dip for marinara sauce and toasted or plain, with butter, peanut butter or as a base for an open faced egg salad sandwich.

 

Mushroom and Tofu Egg Drop Miso Soup – It’s hard to take a nice picture of miso soup

A shrimp appetizer

Shrimp and Mushroom Scampi over home made Fettuccine pasta

Some breakfasts/lunches

 

Spicy pepperoni and mozzarella cheese stuffed omelette

Sourdough tortilla pizzas have been appearing often on my plate – from the classic pepperoni/mozzarella, with or without sweet peppers, Canadian bacon and fresh basil to pulled pork/bbq sauce to shrimp or mushroom on a base of shiso pesto. A bacon and mozzarella pizza made today isn’t pictured.

 

 

I was sure I had some fudgy chocolate cupcakes in the downstairs freezer for a quick dessert (even had a frosting idea that I was excited about) but then I had to scramble for a new plan when I discovered that I had eaten them all up, and all that was left were nine red velvet cupcakes. Making a cream cheese frosting was my immediate thought and, after weighing what was left of the last brick of Philly cream cheese (77 gm) in  my fridge, I searched my hard drive for one of the many ‘one day, I must try this’ frosting recipes that I could scale down. I was very pleased with the result … a thick, pipeable frosting with a touch of lemon juice to cut through the cloying sweetness of so many cream cheese frostings.

The last of the raspberry cupcakes with raspberry curd

Basic Corn Chowder … Chicken/Turkey or Bacon Variations

Just a quick info dump for those who aren’t familiar with chowders. A chowder is a hearty potato based soup which is often thickened with a flour roux and/or milk or cream.

For healthier alternatives, a puree of corn kernels or potatoes may be a good substitute thickener. Mixed seafood, fish or clams are seen in some versions, and there’s nothing as tasty as a chicken or turkey chowder with a decidedly southwestern or Tex-Mex twist with the addition of diced green chiles or a prepared chile verde. Ham and potato chowders are a great choice for meat lovers while for vegetarians, a vegetable stock base and the addition of roasted corn, sweet red peppers and even mushrooms, satisfy.

NOTE: For other chowders I’ve made in the past, search the ‘soup’ tag in LJ and for ‘chowders’ in the search bar at the bottom of the page in WordPress.

I set aside three bbq roasted corn on the cob a while ago and, after cutting off the kernels, added the cobs to the pot along with a mix of  chicken and turkey carcasses and made a very flavourful stock for the base of this chowder.

Basic Corn Chowder – serves 6-8

1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups vegetable stock, flavoured with corn cobs (or 4 cups of vegetable stock and 2 cups of milk, half and half or whipping cream)
3 cups roasted corn kernels, cut off the cob
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced (optional)
3-4 medium, potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste, start with 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper and adjust at the end

Flour Slurry

2 tbsp flour and 1/4 cup of cold water

Combine the flour and water in a small jar with a lid and shake until you get a smooth mixture.

Making the Chowder

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, saute the diced onion in the vegetable oil until it’s translucent. Add the diced celery and continue sauteing for a few more minutes until the onion just begins to get some colour around the edges but does not brown.

Add the diced potatoes, stock, corn kernels, thyme and salt and pepper to the pot, cover with a lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the slurry to the pot and continue to simmer for at least 5 minutes until the chowder is thickened. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Serve.

Chowder Variations: For a chicken/turkey version, use a chicken or mixed poultry stock and add the shredded meat of choice (1-2 cups) along with the potatoes.

For a bacon version, use bacon fat instead of vegetable oil to saute the onions. Add about 1/2 cup of chopped crispy bacon to the pot of chowder just before serving and stir in to distribute evenly. If you prefer your bacon crunchy, sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the bacon over each bowl as a last minute garnish.

COOKING TIP: Soup can be thickened at the BEGINNING of the cooking process by making a roux of equal parts oil/butter and flour and then adding the liquid. During the cooking process, the soup gradually thickens so care must be taken to stir to the bottom of the soup pot in case the flour settles and scorches. Or, it may be thickened at the END by adding a slurry of flour and cold water, mixed or shaken together in a small jar until no lumps remain, to the pot of soup, and letting it cook together for another 5-10 minutes until thickened. Another way to thicken soup, at the end of the cooking process, is to combine equal amounts of flour and softened butter to form a kind of paste (beurre manie or ‘kneaded butter’) and then add lumps of this mixture to the soup, stirring well so it dissolves and gradually thickens the soup.

Eight cups of corn and turkey chowder for the freezer