Sausage and Potato Chowder

Sausage and Potato Chowder

This is perfect for one of these winter nights, you know, when the sky is grey, and the cold feels like it’s getting to your bones. When you can see your breath while you wait for the car to warm up. When all you really want to drink is hot chocolate and watch happy movies about families that have a tragedy and find some way to overcome it.

If you are adventurous enough, you could even add some pumpkin puree to this and make it an early fall treat. I prefer it exactly how it is.

What you’ll need:

1 pound Spicy Sausage (I used Jimmy Dean, if you use sausage with casings, remove the casing)

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 carrots, peeled and cubed

2 leeks, sliced thick and rinsed well

1 large onion, cubed

4 ounces of light cream

48 ounces of chicken stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 teaspoon of chives, chopped

1/4 teaspoon of sage, chopped

1 tablespoon of cornstarch and water mixed together

Misenplace:

Peel the carrots and cube them evenly, peel and cube the onion, Slice the leeks and rinse them thoroughly in a water bath (leeks can have sand in them, it’s better to take the extra step),

For the recipe:

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions and leeks.

Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften (about 10 minutes)

Season the vegetables with a pinch of kosher salt and a few cranks of freshly cracked black pepper. Add the Italian sausage.

Brown the sausage completely and then drain the fat. Don’t worry about getting all of the grease out, were going to skim the top of the chowder later. Place the vegetable and meat mixture into a larger sauce/stockpan.

To the stock pan add the 2 bouillon cubes, the chicken stock and potatoes.

Bring to a boil and then lower heat to low and allow to simmer until the potatoes are that wonderful state of fork tender.

See that fat floating on the top of your hard work? Well, were going to remove it. How you ask? with a ladle, of course! just skim the edges around the pan with the edge of the ladle, if you do it correctly, you should remove a good amount of fat and very little liquid. The alternative of this would be cooling down your soup at this point, putting it in the fridge and waiting one day. The next day the fat would have solidified and you could just pull it off the top with ease. But who has that kind of time!?

When the potatoes are soft enough for your tastes (but hopefully not neglected or overcooked) add in the cream, turn the heat to low and allow the cream to warm through.

Add the cornstarch slurry, the soup will thicken up quickly, you can add more or less depending on your preference. Turn off the heat and finish the soup with the sage and the chives.

I wanted to serve this in a bread bowl, I knew that’s how I was going to present it when I was creating the recipe in my head.

I bought a loaf of peasant bread and pre-heated my oven to 400*

Cook the bread for 10 minutes, carefully remove the bread from the oven and cut the top of the bread off with a serrated knife. Carefully scoop the hot bread insides out with a spoon. Do this carefully, you don’t want to break the bread, or remove too much of it.

Ladle the soup into the bread bowl and top with some herbs and crushed red pepper.

Chili-lime chicken soup

Chili-lime chicken soup

Autumn is my favorite season, I love the harvest, I love the warm colors in nature, I love the cold nights, and the amazing holidays. However, the beginning is always bittersweet for me. Autumn also puts my allergies into overdrive and punishes me with non-stop sneezing and congestion.

I try to combat those symptoms with spicy and sour soups. (chili-lime chicken soup, hot and sour soup, sinigang, tom yum goong, take a bow..) I really believe in the old tales about chicken soup being “Jewish Penicillin”, it just makes me feel better when I have a cold.

So, because i’m not feeling well,  we’re going to make chili-lime chicken soup.

For the misenplace:

Rub olive oil on 2 ears of corn, and grill/broil/stove top grill until they start to brown and sit them aside for later.

Place a whole chicken in enough water to cover, add an onion with the skin on, 2 carrots, herbs (I used thyme and parsley) a large handful of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook this on an extremely low temperature for approximately 2 hours. Do not allow this to boil or simmer, it will ruin the clarity of your chicken stock. Remove the chicken and allow to cool. Shred the meat on the chicken and discard the carcass. Reserve the stock.

On to the recipe!

Dice 2 carrots, 1 red onion, slice 2 green onions, mince 3 cloves of garlic, mince 2 dried chills and grate 1 thumb sized piece of ginger root.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil begins to ripple, add the red onion, garlic, ginger, chili, salt and freshly cracked black pepper and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent.

Once the onions are translucent, add the carrots and the green onions and cook until the carrots are soft. about another 7 minutes.

Remember the corn we roasted earlier and set aside? Sure you do, it was so much fun cooking them on the stove top. (wink wink) Were going to cut the kernels off of the cob. The easiest way to do this is to grab an ear of corn and stand it up. Using a sharp knife, start from the top and slice downward carefully. Also use a sheet pan to catch the kernels as they fall of off the cob. After you have cut all of the corn off, turn the knife around and using the dull side of the knife scrap the cob. The purpose of doing this is to extract the “milk” (it’s not really milk people, it’s just milky like).

Add the corn to the saute pan and saute until warmed through, adjust the seasonings and flavor.

Add the juice and zest of 3 limes to the saute pan, along with a handful of chopped cilantro. Now add the chicken stock we made earlier, adjust your seasonings and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Serve with jasmine rice, top with green onions and dried peppers.

Some notes:

  • I had some trouble with the heat level, I wanted it spicy, but the dried chilis were mild. Maybe chipotle peppers would be a better fit here.
  • I know 3 limes seems like alot, but I was leaning towards adding a 4th.
  • Cook the rice separately from the soup, and only add rice when you serve. Adding the rice to the soup will soak up all of the liquid.
  • If you don’t feel like making your own stock, you can buy a rotisserie chicken, and buy chicken stock.
  • This is my first post, using my new Canon Rebel XSI, there is a learning curve with using a DSLR, but I think I did well.
  • This recipe is MINE, MINE, MINE. Copywrite ME.