Friday, November 21, 2014

Corn, Sausage & Leek Chowder. A warm hug in a bowl.

If I was one of those organized people who hosted holiday open houses with Vince Guaraldi playing in every room and Mistletoe hanging above the doorway, I'd serve this soup. Comforting yet not too rich with its brothy stock laden with all kinds of textures, it has everything going for it. And that's before you add toppings!

You can use sweet sausage instead of spicy but I love a little heat against the sweet corn. And if you want it 'meatier' feel free to up the sausage to one pound. I find the ratio below makes this a perfect guys and gals soup though. The dudes feel like they're eating a hearty meal and us gals can still hold our head up and say we had soup for dinner. But if you're in the camp of 'mo sausage, mo betta' cheers to that.

Maybe one year I'll be organized enough to actually host that holiday party of my dreams. Until then I'm just happy knowing I already have the perfect recipe.

Corn, Sausage and Leek Soup
* This soup is great to make ahead and tastes amazing reheated.
* I can't stress rinsing your leeks thoroughly enough. This is best to do once you've halved them lengthwise so you can get the water in between the leaves where fine grit hides.
* Serves 6.

3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 med sweet onion, chopped
3 leeks, white and light green (not tough) parts only, well rinsed, halved lengthwise then chopped into thin strips crosswise
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
pinch pepper
10 oz frozen corn
32 oz low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half

Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

Chopped Fresh cilantro, for serving
Tortilla chips, crushed up, for serving


In a large dutch oven, break up the sausage with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat until cooked through and some bits have become nice and brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove sausage with a wooden spoon and set aside.

To the dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons salted butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Allow the butter to melt then add the onion. Cook stirring often for 3 minutes then add the leaks. Season with coriander, salt and pepper and continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the leeks are super soft, about 10-12 minutes.

Stir in the corn, chicken stock, and cooked sausage and raise heat slightly so the soup comes to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, then reduce heat to low and stir in the half and half. Taste for seasoning. If it's not the most delicious thing you've ever eaten, it needs more salt so make gradual adjustments until it is.

Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar and or/any other toppings you see fit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Pork Tikka Masala with Tomato, Coconut Milk and Cilantro


This is my new favorite thing to make and eat. I usually keep a bag of chopped onion in my freezer which makes this something I can put together in five minutes in the morning before work.

The following statement may officially make me the lamest person on the planet but remembering that dinner is already made when the work day comes to a close and I get that panicked feeling (baby needs a bath! I need a bath! What are we eating? Why is my underwear on the TV?) is the best. thing. ever. As they say a baby changes everything.

Two notes: I actually like sushi rice with this (rinsed before cooking) but any variety would work. Also this freezes beautifully even with the rice included.

Slow Cooker Pork Tikka Masala with Tomato, Coconut Milk and Cilantro

Ingredients/How to:

To a slow cooker, stir together and cook for 4 hours on low:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds thin cut boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat and cut against the grant into thin 1/8 inch thick strips (you can often buy it already prepared this way or have your butcher do this)
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika or curry (I prefer curry but both are great)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Big handful cilantro (no need to chop) plus extra chopped for garnish

After 4 hours, stir in the following and cook another 30 minutes while you make 2 cups of prepared rice:
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 (14 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

After 30 minutes, turn the cooker off and stir in:
1 tablespoon honey

Serve over rice and with additional cilantro for garnish.