Friday, October 21, 2011

Tuesday Chili and Wednesday Chowder

I meant to post Tuesday and Wednesday separately, but I got a tad behind this week, so you're in for a bargain if you're reading...
Its two! Two! Two recipes in one (blog)!

 Tuesday and Wednesday were grey and windy here, chilly. 
When the weather cools off like this, I crave soup.  Warm, full of veggies, hearty, and filling. Plus, they make the house smell wonderful while they cook slowly.  I usually like to serve soups with corn bread.  Pretty sure it's because that's how Mom did it while I was growing up.  But since I had the artisan bread dough left, I simply pulled out a hunk each day and baked it instead.

Both of these soups are easy.  The chili I dump in the crockpot to let simmer all day, and the chowder comes together in a pot on the stove with little effort. So without further ado:

That's a purple bell pepper up front- not an eggplant!
1 can of chili beans
2 cans of black, kidney, or pinto beans
1 can of tomatoes with chiles (like Rotel)
2 cans of tomatoes (I used one can and one fresh tomato with a can of tomato sauce)
3/4 lb ground beef
1 lg onion
1 green or red pepper
salt and pepper
chili powder
cayenne pepper
1/2 of 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (optional- will make HOT)

Put your beef in a skillet with the chopped onion and chopped pepper.
I used a purple bell pepper and a serano, for a little different flavor. They were on hand, and needed to be used.
Inside of a purple bell pepper.  Who knew?!
Add some minced garlic- one or two cloves is fine, or if you have the jar of pre-minced garlic like I do, just scoop out a spoonful.  I have a homemade taco/fajita seasoning that I add at this point- just a teaspoon or two.  If you don't have anything like this, use a little chili powder and a little cumin. 
Homemade taco seasoning!

While the beef/onion/pepper combo is getting nice and brown,
All in the pot to cook!
open your cans and pour them out into the crockpot.  Mine is a 6 quart.  I think a 5 quart will work as well, but I'm not sure about a 4 quart.  If you're going to add the chipotles in adobo, now is the time.  Let me tell you, if you do this, the adobo sauce really kicks the flavor up a notch or three, but you will amp up the spice factor at the same time. A Lot. Don't just empty the can, you'll need to chop up the chipotles inside. Seeds add even more heat, so keep them at your own risk!
Add about a tablespoon of chili, 2 teaspoons of cumin, 1 teaspoon of oregano, and start with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.   You can adjust this seasoning mix to your own personal taste.

Drain the beef- or don't if you like.  Dump it into your crockpot.  Give it a stir.  Turn your crockpot on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.
You should smell this in your house!

Potato Corn Chowder:

This is one of my favorite soups from when I was a kid.  Its so creamy and smoky with bacon.  Its usually the second soup I make every fall (after chili!).  One of the great things is that you can save yourself a bunch of time by using all frozen veggies. Don't use pre-cooked bacon though. Trust me, it just doesn't work.

3 cups chopped potato
2 cans of corn (or 1 box of frozen corn- tells you how old this recipe is- do they even make boxed frozen veggies anymore?)
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 lb bacon, fried crispy and crumbled or rough chopped
1 1/2 c milk
2 Tbsp flour
1 small box of "pastureized processed cheese food product"

Okay, so let me get this out of the way first.  This has "plastic" cheese in it.  I know its not a "whole" food. Actually,  its not real food, but just a food product.  I DON'T make a habit of using it, in fact, I think this is the only recipe I buy it for. Probably, you can make a cheese sauce (toasting a little flour and butter, adding some milk, and then some shredded cheese) and use that instead.  If you do this, and it works, let me know.  You'll definitely deserve a kitchen salute.  But this is a flavor of my childhood, and so I choose to use the Velveeta when I make this, approximately twice a year.  

Put your corn (with canning liquid), potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley in a dutch oven type pot. Add enough water to cover (but not drown!).  Bring it to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are soft.
All that steam means the taters are cookin'! It also means you can't really tell what this picture is!

While all that's cooking, crisp your bacon.  But don't burn it. Because then you'll have to use the extra package you bought for breakfast on the weekend.  And that would be very sad.

I tried to do the bacon in the oven, instead of the stove (messy) or microwave (hard to clean up). But it burned.
 Add the bacon and milk and continue to cook for a few minutes on a medium low heat. Maybe 5, maybe 10, just don't scorch your milk!   Now, in a small bowl or measuring cup, mix some of the liquid from the pot with the flour.  Use a fork and break up the lumps.   Once its smooth, add it to the pot.  This will help thicken the soup. Cook a few more minutes. While its cooking, cube up your velveeta.  Maybe 10 minutes before you want to serve it, dump the velveeta in the pot.
This is what it looks like while the velveeta is melting.
Stir it until its melted through. Fresh parsley makes a nice garnish, but its not strictly necessary...

I love this with hot fresh bread, or hot corn bread, or no bread at all. Dip yourself a bowl and keep warm!

What's cooking in your kitchen?

1 comment:

  1. The chili was good this time, not too spicy! And of course, I'm always up for a good potato corn chowder!