Usually, Sunday is Italian Day at our house. I make a big brunch for us on Saturdays and Sundays, and then a giant pot of sauce that I start right after I've scoured the kitchen from brunch. We have an Italian meal after smelling the sauce cook all day long. Sometimes it's lasagna, sometimes pasta, sometimes pizza, but all those meals involve my homemade tomato sauce that I make in big batches about every three weeks (make lots, freeze batches to use the next week or so.)
But, I had a failed attempt at pizza late last night and now neither of us feels like Italian. (We stayed too late at our local and I don't cook as well when I'm not 100% sober...oops! I do, however, fall asleep on the couch much easier. Thank Goodness Steinvic loves me anyway.)
Tonight we're having grilled portabella sandwiches and soup. I really enjoy cooking soup. Here is my recipe for Kicky Corn Chowder. Yes, I made up the recipe - and the silly-yet-accurate name - myself, and I hope you'll try it and like it.
- 8 or 9 potatoes, your favorite variety, scrubbed and diced
- Diced small red onion
- Diced large red bell pepper
- Diced celery (I use about three stalks)
- Sliced carrots (I use two carrots, slicing them thin)
- Can of whole sweet corn (or you can cut fresh corn from the cob)
- Ranch Dressing Packet (Hidden Valley or generic works just fine)
- Emeril Spice
- Pepper (I always use a pepper grinder. You get better, more intense flavor that way.)
- Garlic powder
- Jarred jalapeno pepper slices
- Olive oil
In a big pot, place a bit of olive oil and heat it up on high. Saute onion, pepper, celery and carrots in the pot until the onions are translucent.
Add about 40 ounces of water, smidgen of salt, lots of cracked pepper and you've got a lovely vegetable stock. Turn the heat down to simmer.
In another pot, heat a pot of water with two shakes of salt in it. When it boils, carefully add in your potatoes. I used red and regular potatoes today because that is what I had on hand, and we like to mix things up a little.
While your potatoes are cooking, add a packet of Ranch Dressing Mix to your vegetable stock. Add about a teaspoon of Emeril Spice and a dash of garlic powder. See the nice velvety texture? I used to add milk or sour cream to this recipe, but I don't these days. You can if you want, though.
When your potatoes are fork tender, drain them and carefully add them to your seasoned vegetable stock. If you used a variety of potato types, be sure to spear one of each because cooking times can vary. Don't worry too much, though...your potatoes are going to simmer in the stock while everything meshes, and they'll cook through.
Add one can of drained corn, and jalapeno slices to taste I do about five or so, knowing they'll break down as they simmer and I can add more if it's not spicy enough. Remember, you can always add heat, but it's really tough to take it away!
Let everything simmer for about 20 minutes and then taste and reseason as needed. I let our soup cook on simmer for most of the afternoon, but you should actually be able to eat this in about an hour.
And there you have it...Kicky Corn Chowder, perfect for Halloween or any cool Fall or Winter evening. I serve it with a little sprinkling of cheese and some croutons on top, but crunchy tortilla chips are good with it, too. Make extra and enjoy an easy dinner of soup leftovers later in the week. This recipe freezes and reheats pretty well. Enjoy!