Monday, January 5, 2009

Potato Chowder

This may not the most figure friendly soup. But I've trimmed as much as I can from it without sacrificing flavor. It was 78 degrees yesterday, and today it's 48! So please forgive me...I have to make soup when it's cold outside, it goes against my nature to do otherwise. Am I forgiven? Please let me know :-).

Potato Chowder is an old family recipe from David's mother's side. I've had the recipe since before I got married; that's how good it is :-). I love it because it's so comforting and hearty, and the kids love it because they can put as much cheese as they want on top. If you're trying to cut back on calories, I wouldn't put any cheese in the soup itself although you can put in 1 cup if you'd like. Otherwise, just sprinkle a little bit on top as a garnish when you're ready to serve. Normally I use mild cheddar, but I had some sharp cheddar in the fridge, which is more flavorful than mild anyway.

I've also gone into my archives and labeled all my posts I consider "Figure Friendly." I realize not every dietitian on the planet may agree with me, but if you're looking for lighter fare with plenty of flavor, these would be the ones I'd pick.

Hope you've got your big spoon handy to stir your pot!

Potato Chowder

5 cups peeled potatoes, cut into large cubes
Enough water to cover potatoes (in the pot)
1 large onion, finely dice
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 12-ounce tube of pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean reduced fat)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (can be omitted or use just for garnish)
1 14.75 ounce can cream style corn
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4/ to 1/3 instant plain mashed potato flakes

In a large stock pot, combine the potatoes, onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and the celery seed. Add enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are done and easily pierced with a knife.

While the potatoes are cooking, brown the sausage over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Break it up into small pieces, like this:

Continue to cook until the pork is no longer pink. Drain well on a couple of layers of paper towels, and set aside.

We interrupt this recipe so I can show you my new gadget. David gave me a little counter top camera tripod for Christmas. I am so happy to be able to take pictures without having to actually hold the camera as much as I was before. It's so extends to about 8 inches over the counter...
and folds up so small, it fits in my hand! SWEET!

We now return to our regular program of making soup. Please excuse the interruption :-).
Once the potatoes are done, turn off the heat. Add the creamed corn, the remaining teaspoon of salt, and the parsley.

Slowly add the milk (you don't want the soup to curdle on you), and give the pot a good stir. Bring the soup back up to just below boiling. You really just have to heat up the milk at this point.

Now, look at the consistency. If you like your chowder chunky, you can serve it now. We like ours creamier, with a few small chunks of potato. So I get out my potato masher and break up most of the potato, and then add about 1/3--1/4 of mashed potato flakes, just to thicken it up some more. (If you're watching the calories, make sure to buy plain mashed potato flakes, not the "butter" or "cheese" variety).

Serve the soup with a hearty green salad (I make some bread sticks for the kiddos), and a bowl of shredded cheese for garnish. The kids put on a lot more than I did--but that's okay. And Gabriel ate a whole bowl with cheese (plus a bread stick, 2 tangerines, and a cookie!). Momma was so proud :-)
Baby, it's cold outside, so make some soup to warm yourself up!

God Bless your table tonight!

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