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New England Clam Chowder…’tis the season for soup!

Fall leaves are changing colors… red, orange, yellow… crisp cool nights, dry sunny days…aaahhh, ’tis the season for soups! This is my favorite time of year – Fall in New England. Of course, I’ve never lived anywhere else so I don’t really know the seasons that happen all over the world. But, here in New England, this is a beautiful time of year. My drive to work makes me smile – mountain sides and lake shores dotted with colorful trees. Plus, the Fall nights are cool and crisp, so I can snuggle into my comforter for a good night’s sleep.

Because the weather has turned cooler, it’s okay to cook warm foods again. Letting a pot of soup, stew or chowder simmer on the stove is perfect at this time of year. The aroma fills the kitchen and gives me a cozy feeling. This recipe for New England Clam Chowder is somewhat non-traditional because I add carrots, corn and chicken stock. Most traditional recipes add bacon to the chowder to add a subtle smoky flavor and use clam juice as the stock. The nice thing about soups and chowders is they can be so easily adapted to whatever you have in the refrigerator. I have occasionally added sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes which adds a slightly different flavor. Be creative – use ingredients you like and enjoy!

 

New England Clam Chowder (Gluten-free)

5 small new red potatoes, unpeeled
3 celery stalks + celery leaves
2 medium carrots
½ small onion, chopped
¼ cup frozen corn
2½ cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (6.5 oz) cans chopped clams or small baby clams, drained
1 pint heavy cream
Sprinkle of dried parsley flakes

Rinse the potatoes, celery and carrots, dice them into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large pot. Add the onion and corn. Pour in the liquid stock, add the spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes and vegetables become soft. Add the clams and continue to simmer another 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, add the heavy cream and heat gently. Serve with gluten-free crackers (ex. Glutino) or gluten-free warm bread. Makes about 4 servings.

 

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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Soups

 

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Shepherd’s Pie… a great, one-dish comfort meal!

Mmmm... so good!

My son arrived home from college this week!! My husband and I are so happy to have him around the house again. He worked in another state over last summer, so we only saw him for brief periods. I know we just spent Thanksgiving week with him (see earlier post “What’s in your suitcase …?”), but it’s still good to have him home for a longer stay. He’s a really good kid and we all enjoy doing things together.

One of the things we really enjoy is sharing a good meal! I made a hearty clam chowder last night with a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad, fresh bread (not gluten-free) with olive oil and parmesan cheese for dipping. Tonight, I made Shepherd’s Pie with ground turkey.

Shepherd’s Pie is a wonderful comfort food and can be adapted for anyone’s taste preferences. It’s a great one-dish meal. You can add any vegetables, spices, or different types of meat and it tastes great all blended together. Both my husband and son only eat seafood or poultry (no red meat), so ground turkey is a great substitute. The dish my mother made when I was growing up had ground beef, corn and mashed potatoes. Very simple. As my taste buds matured, I learned to enjoy some extra spiciness, so I began adding garlic, oregano, basil, onions, cheese and extra vegetables – like mushrooms, spinach, or shredded carrots. I put spices and some veggies in with the meat to cook and absorb flavor and other veggies, like fresh spinach, layered on top of the meat. The potatoes are always the final layer. There really is no wrong way to make a Shepherd’s Pie, so have fun, and try some new veggies or spices! Bon apetit!

Shepherd’s Pie 

 3-4 large baking potatoes, cut into chunks, skin on

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey or lamb)

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped mushrooms

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon dried basil

salt/pepper to taste

1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup shredded cheese (your choice – cheddar, monterey jack, mozzarella,…)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking dish. In a large pot, place potato chunks, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork. Drain well. Add milk and mash with a beater or masher. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add ground meat and thoroughly cook through. Drain fat, if needed. Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, spices and cook until onions start to soften – about 5 more minutes. Layer the meat mixture in the bottom of the greased baking dish. Layer the canned corn on top of the meat. Evenly spread the mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables. Place the butter and cheese on top of the mashed potatoes. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Main Meals

 

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