Saturday, October 3, 2015

Adventures in Cookin’ – Potato Chowder

It’s early October and technically Autumn, but outside it feels closer to winter with it being rainy and low 40’s.  This morning my daughter had dance class, on the way home I was in the mood to make some comfort food.  We stopped at the market to pick up some fresh items, today we’re making Potato Chowder!

I browsed the Internet for some ideas, and settled on this one when I saw it used hash browned potato’s, which I had never had in a soup before.  Armed with some fresh veggie’s and a fresh beer (Goose Island Oktoberfest, can I say that this is the best time of the year to try new beers?), it was time to start cookin’.

WP_20151003_004 The first thing I had to do was create some southern style hash browns, as the recipe called for.  I didn’t really know what southern style hash browns meant, so I figured hash browns and bell peppers would do nicely. I bought a pack of the frozen hash browns – the whole square one’s – and put them in the microwave to defrost.  I then grabbed 2 bell peppers and started dicing;  when my hash browns were ready, I tossed the peppers into a pan with some oil and started to sautee on a low heat. 


Once they started to soften, I started adding some of the hashbrowns, only adding a few at a time.  As I chopped up the hash browns, I seasoned with some salt, pepper, garlic powder and hot seed.  After about 15 minutes of stirring and blending the flavor’s, I removed the hash browns from direct heat – and sampled some with a spoon.. very tasty!


In my stock pot, I added the butter, melted it, and added my carrots and onions.  Much like before, I kept the heat pretty low and got the ingredients to soften some. After a few minutes, I added 3 cups of the hash brown concoction, 14 ounces of the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  It was noticeable very quickly that this wasn’t enough broth.  I think the real hash browns I used were just very thick and were going to soak up a lot of the liquid, so I ended up adding another can of broth.


Once I got everything mixed together, I brought back to a boil and started to season to taste (yes… it needed more cayenne pepper!).  After reducing the heat to simmer, I grabbed some shredded Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar cheese and added to the soup as well.  (The sharpness of the cheese really stood out later on, I was happy I added this.)


The last thing to do was to add some cream – this is a chowder after all.  I added 2 cups of half and half and continued to stir (but not enough, at one point I was distracted and the soup started to burn a little, argh!).  The soup was a little too thin at this point, so we (“we” being my wife, when things start to burn in the kitchen she arrives to the rescue to tell me what I’m doing wrong) added some flour to thicken the soup a little.  Once the flour cooked in, the soup had a nice consistency to it, and it was all done.

I served it with some crusty bread, and was really happy with the end result.  The soup had a nice level of heat to it – which I was aiming for – the sharp cheese came through, and the consistency of the potato’s was very interesting.  Rather than whole chunks of potato, it was thin strips mixed in which I thought was good.  I’ve made some items in the past and was proud it was edible, this is the first time I made food and thought “I would definitely share this with other people!”

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