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.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

So, the Superbowl is coming up, It’s only natural for me to want to throw my skills out there, Since everyone else is flooding the internets with recipes.

Now, MY New York Giants are in the Superbowl, and just happen to be facing the NFL’s poster boy Tom Brady and his New England Patriots. I’m a bit worried, because this is a rematch of Superbowl XLII, where the Giants pulled out an upset against Poster Boy Tom. This time, the Patriots will have a chip on their shoulder, and will not give this game away easily.

Just in time for the Superbowl, I Give you: Buffalo Chicken Pizza!

 

What you’ll need:

1 Canister of refridgerated pizza crusts

3 Chicken breasts

1 bottle of buffalo sauce (small)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

12 ounces Blue Cheese Dressing

8 ounces Mozzarella cheese

 

Mise En Place:

Simmer 3 chicken breasts for about 45 minutes, allow to cool. Once they are cooled to room temperature, Shred the chicken. You can do this using your hands, if you are like me and prefer a hands on approach, however, if you just had your nails done in giants colors(red and blue) and worry about the colors chipping. You can shred the chicken with 2 forks.

In a large skillet or saute pan, empty one bottle of Frank’s hot sauce, and 1 stick of butter. Bring to a simmer, and add the shredded chicken.

Turn the temperature to low, and cook for about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, unroll a canister of pillsbury Pizza Dough, spread it with butter and bake it at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

After the 10 minutes are up, spread half of the sauce and chicken over the baked dough.

Drop spoonfuls or drizzle your favorite blue cheese dressing over top the chicken.

Now, top with Mozzarella cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes.

Now were going to make another layer the same way. Add the sauce and chicken, Add blue cheese, and more mozzarella cheese. Bake for another 7 minutes.

And

Serve to your hungry Giants fans, with plenty of extra blue cheese dressing, and lot’s of beer.

If you are a Patriots fan, may I suggest this? 🙂

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Go Giants!! 🙂

Chili

Chili

In my mind, the perfect chili is something with alot of meat, a sparse amount of beans, and little to no heat. Sadly for me, this recipe follows everything, except for the heat part. This chili has a creeping heat, that lingers for about 30 seconds and then disappears.

Also, this chili is prepared with Chicken Stock, as opposed to massive amount of tomato products, resulting in a cleaner tasting chili.

For the Misenplace:

Chop 1 large white onion into large pieces and mince 2 cloves of garlic.

Deseed and chop 1 Poblano (Anaheim)chili into medium size pieces, discard seeds.

Chop finely 2 chipotle peppers. You can usually find these in a can, located in the Spanish section of your supermarket.

For the recipe:

heat a large saute pan, add 1lb of 85/15 ground beef and 1lb of 80/20 ground beef. Please try to use this ratio, it’ll make your chili have a meatier taste. Cook the meat until partially browned, but you can still see spots of pink.

Now add the Onion, Garlic and Poblano peppers and cook for about 10 minutes or until the peppers and onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Also, season with kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. This is the only time you will add salt to this recipe.

Add 1 packet of Mccormicks Chili seasoning and 1 tablespoon of chili powder, cook for 3 minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock or broth, 2 small cans of diced tomatoes with green chilis. (the famous Rotel brand, found near the taco section in your supermarket works just fine) and the chipotle chili.

Add 1 small can of small red beans and Cook for about 1 hour, or until the chili is at your desired thickness. If you want this very thick, you may have to cook for quite a bit longer.

Serve hot, with plenty of cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapeno.

Some notes:

  • You can use turkey as a substitute, but do not use chicken. it dries out too much.
  • I don’t like the idea of using kidney beans in chili, stick with small red beans.
  • Please don’t add cumin, leave it out, you’ll thank me for suggesting this..
  • Be careful with the salt, we are reducing liquid, which will concentrate the flavors you have spent a good deal of time creating. Too much salt can and will ruin this recipe.
  • If you are a fire breather, increase the chipotle peppers from 2 to 4.
  • Just F.Y.I. my stove top light burned out right as I was starting this recipe, so I had to move the pan to the table to take progress photos.
  • After browning the meat, you can choose to pour off the fat from the meat, but, why would you want to do that? 😛
Asian Inspired Meatballs

Asian Inspired Meatballs

Did you know that some popular  inventions and recipes were either accidents or failures? Some examples of this include: Corn Flakes, Potato Chips, Fireworks, Play-doh, Bubblegum, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Penicillin. Okay, maybe none of these inventions are earth shattering..but still, where would we be without chocolate chip cookies!!?

Ahem, Back to where I was going with this, I attempted to make Lumpia today. Lumpia are Filipino egg rolls, usually filled mostly with meat, and deep fried. I used the word “attempted” because I was not successful at making Lumpia. I only had egg roll wrappers available to me, so I decided to use them. However, egg roll wrappers are not meant to be fried for long periods of time, so my lumpia were turning to charcoal and the pork mixture on the inside was remaining uncooked and raw. I attempted to lower the temperature, but I got the same result regardless of how much I lowered it.

I have a sneaking suspicion that vegetable oil isn’t the best for frying, and I won’t use it again. But, too little, too late, unfortunately.

So with my lumpia adventure coming to a swift and sad end, my mind quickly changed to “what the heck am I going to do with 2 pounds of pork?” Just to get my bearings, I decided to fry up a small amount of the pork mixture. Once I tasted it, I knew right away what I was going to do. Meatballs.

So to start:

Take 2 pounds of ground pork, mix in 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger, 3 tablespoons of low salt soy sauce, and 4 cloves of minced garlic.

Mix the meat until well combined.

Roll the meat mixture into 1 inch balls.

Fry the meatballs until golden brown on all sides, I had to do this in too batches as I didn’t want to overcrowd the pan. Once all of the meatballs are browned, place them onto a sheet pan, covered with aluminum foil.

Cook the meatballs on 375 for about 15 minutes, just until the internal temperature of the pork is beyond 150*.

When the meatballs reach the desired internal temperature, brush your homemade sweet chili sauce over them and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Serve with extra sweet chili sauce, and pass around at your next cocktail party.  Of course, you do not need a party to enjoy these, you could choose to make these, and watch several episodes of CSI Miami, like the writer of this blog has done.