Sweet Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Sometimes I wish I was from Boston so I could get away with saying Chowda. But, alas, I’m Cali, born and raised. Saying Chowder, thankfully, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it just as much! And we’re finally (FINALLY) getting into Fall. Which to me means hearty stews and soups, corn bread. Anything that makes you feel warm and cozy. Ok, basically, comfort food. Fall = Comfort Food. This one definitely fits that category.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil (keep more on hand for drizzling)
1 16 oz pkg frozen sweet corn
3 small to medium Russet potatoes
4-6 slices of bacon, chopped (depends on your love of bacon, I used 8. Tells you a little something about me)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs butter (I use unsalted)
1 whole onion, diced (to save time, I buy the already diced onion in the produce section. Use about 1 cup)
1 tsp smoked paprika (add more for your desired flavor)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground curry
3 cloves garlic, minced (to save time, I use the preminced garlic. 1 tsp = about 1 clove garlic)
1 cup white wine (always be sure to use a wine you personally enjoy as that is the flavor your dish will have. You can always sub chicken broth)
2 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I didn’t have heavy cream, so I subbed 1/2 cup whole milk. To get the thickness, though, I added 1/2 cup of sour cream. It worked perfectly!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro (ick) or parsley for garnish, if desired

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper (makes for easier clean-up) add the corn and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, turn corn with wooden spoon, and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The corn should be getting golden brown and starting to char a little. Remove and set aside until ready to add to the soup.

While corn roasts, peel and dice potatoes. Add to a medium pot of lightly salted water, bringing to a boil and then let simmer until fork tender. Drain in colander.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven to medium. Add diced bacon and cook, rendering the fat. Once bacon is crisp, remove with slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. With the exception of about 2 tablespoons of fat, remove the rest. Add shrimp, stir to cook slightly. You want them a bit under cooked because you will be adding them to the hot chowder were they will continue to cook. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and add to the plate with bacon.

Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. When the butter begins to bubble, add the onions and slightly increase heat to medium-high. Cook onions until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add roasted corn. Stir in garlic, smoke paprika, and curry. When onions and corn are fully coated, add white wine to deglaze dutch oven. Scrape up any browned bits and simmer until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed.

Slowly add chicken stock while stirring. Make sure the stock is completely incorporated with other ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add cream last. Adjust seasoning.

Finally, add shrimp, bacon, and cilantro or parsley. Serve with a warm crusty bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier

Serves: 4-6

Total time: 1 hour – 1:10 minutes

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Chicken with Mushroom and Baby Heirloom Tomato Gravy

Here it is, only a couple of days into cooler weather, and what am I doing? Reaching for the comfort food meals! This one has it all.  Chicken that is basically fried. The warm, comfort feelings mushrooms and oregano bring to the mix. next you’ve got heirloom tomatoes. well their teeny, tiny cousins, no bigger than a grape. All of this perched on top of a buttery mound of mashed potatoes. The only thing that would have made this better was if I would have had the time to make my buttery cornbread. As it stand, this meal isn’t really during the week cooking. Can’t say that I’m sorry, though.

Ingredients:

4 bone and skin on chicken thighs
3 Tbs plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (to save time, pick up a pre-chopped bag either in the produce or freezer section)
1 Tbs minced garlic (pre-minced in a jar isn’t as good as fresh, but does shave a few minutes off the time)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
1 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup halved grape heirloom tomatoes (picked up these beauties at the farmers market!)

Preparation:

Add 3 tablespoons flour, salt, and pepper to a gallon zip-lock bag.  Add chicken thighs, one at a time. Close bag and shake to coat. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. To another burner, place a large nonstick pan and heat to medium low.  To cast iron, add olive oil. Once heated, cook chicken a total of 9 minutes, turning every 3 minutes.  Remove to nonstick pan and cover. Keep turning every 3-5 minutes while rest of meal comes together.

To cast iron skillet, add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is lightly browned.  Add mushrooms and oregano, sautéing until mushrooms release moisture and darken. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons flour, stirring constantly. add broth, bring to a boil.Reducing heat, simmer 1  minute. Remove mushroom mixture to serving platter. Top with chicken and tent loosely to keep warm. To nonstick pan, add heirloom tomatoes and sauté until softened. Gently spoon over chicken and serve with mashed potatoes.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Burgundy, white
Chardonnay
Merlot
Pinot Noir

Serves 4

Total time: 1 hour

 *Original Serves 4 Recipe