Rustic Roasted Potato, Broccoli and Corn Chowda!

I could eat this every day.

I could eat this every day.

While our neighbors to the north are digging through snow, we’ve had warmer temps and rain, rain and more rain down here in the South. Not that I’m complaining because it’s so good for the garden. However, there’s enough of a chill in the air to make you want something warming and comforting for dinner…wintery comfort food, in other words.

Not much to harvest in the broccoli and chives category, but still nice to have something from the garden this time of year.

Not much to harvest in the broccoli and chives category, but still nice to have something from the garden this time of year.

The broccoli harvest from my little winter garden was almost laughable, it was so small. There are still some babies on the stalks so I may see more before it’s all said and done, but for the time being…about 3 or 4 bites worth! I wanted to combo it with something where we both could enjoy its flavor, even if there wasn’t enough for a side dish, and that’s how I came up with this lovely chowder. It’s rich without being too heavy, and you can easily omit the bacon for a vegetarian option, if you want or need to do so. You just can’t go wrong with anything that combines roasted potatoes, broccoli, sweet corn, onions, and a creamy base topped with a little sprinkle of bacon for good measure. You just can’t!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Roasting adds much depth to the flavor of the chowder.

Roasting the potatoes and broccoli adds a ton of depth and flavor to this chowder. Leaving the skins on the potatoes adds a rustic touch!

Rustic Roasted Potato, Broccoli and Corn Chowder
Serves 6

1 lb. red skinned potatoes, washed, scrubbed and cut into bite sized pieces, skin on
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, washed, scrubbed and cut into bite sized pieces, skin on
2 cups broccoli florets (I just used my smaller amount, but 2 cups is better!)
1 Tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon
Kosher salt and freshly black ground pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 large sweet onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons flour
4 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper
(Optional) Garnish of 3 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and set aside

Cover a cookie sheet in foil and grease it with a little olive oil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the cut potatoes on the foil and toss them with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, some kosher salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of the thyme. Roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes, then give them a stir, then roast them for about 8 more minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to become tender when pricked with a fork and beginning to brown. Toss the broccoli florets in 1 teaspoon of oil and add them to the potatoes, then roast another 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the potatoes and broccoli are roasting, melt the butter in the bottom of a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour to the butter and onion and cook the flour, stirring constantly, for about a minute or two, then add the milk slowly, stirring, then the cream, chicken stock and corn. Add the roasted potatoes and broccoli to the pot, then the chives, remaining thyme, cayenne pepper and salt, and bring to a simmer. Allow the chowder to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, adding a few grinds of black pepper. Serve hot in bowls and crumble 1/2 slice of bacon on top of each serving, if desired.

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Happiness Is: Betsy’s Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup

Good for what ails you…home-styled comfort for a rough day or a cold night.

Around here the leaves have turned and fallen, the wind is cold and blustery outside, the fat bird has sung its Thanksgiving song and all that remains are the memories…and few extra pounds, perhaps!

It’s a fun time of year, but a stressful one. The weather keeps changing, the baking and gift giving frenzy is upon us, and with all of that can come an unwelcome cold or case of the flu, or maybe just a touch of the holiday blues.

Fear not, dear ones, I have just the thing for you!

My Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup is simple and simply comforting. It’s the thing to have after all the stuffing and overstuffing of the Thanksgiving holiday, and to recover with before the next round of partying and eating. Over the years I’ve found that is has the power to not only ward-off oncoming illness, but to surely make anyone with the sniffles or blues feel warm and loved. Even the steam off the bowl is good for clearing your sinuses! Additionally, this bowl of goodness will take the edge off of your hectic day and remind you of cozy comforters and a warm fire in the fireplace. Granted, in some cases it may not replace antibiotics in terms of a cure-all, but it sure can’t hurt!

This soup is wonderful accompanied by a slice of cheese toast. And if you feel so inclined to gild the lily, you can add a few drops of fresh lemon juice and a small bit of sour cream to your bowl to mix in for a little extra comfort and joy. Mmmm, mmm, good!

Betsy’s Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes 8 servings

To Start:

3 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin
1 trimmed and peeled carrot cut into 3-inch pieces
1 1/2 stalks of celery with leaves cut into 3-inch pieces
2 quarters of a peeled onion
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 springs of fresh thyme
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
10 cups of water

Bring the above ingredients to a boil in a large stock pot, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the chicken breasts are just done through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the stock and set aside to cool, reserving the stock. Strain the stock to remove the vegetables and herbs, then place it back into the pot. While the stock is cooling and when the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and the meat from the bones, and chop the meat into bite sized pieces. Reserve the meat. Skim fat off the top of the stock and discard the fat. Bring the stock back to a boil and add:

3 1/2 cups dried curly or flat, sturdy egg noodles
2 leeks trimmed and sliced, white and light green parts only
2 large carrots peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 1/2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced

Cook the noodles in the stock with the leeks, carrots and celery according to the time on the noodle package directions. When the noodles are done and just tender, add:

3/4 cup dry full-bodied white wine, such as chardonnay
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh button mushrooms
the reserved chicken meat
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Allow the soup to simmer until the mushrooms are done, about 5-8 minutes. Serve in bowls and enjoy!