I do really enjoy cooking...when I have plenty of time and plenty of money and can have the windows open for those lovely Delta Breezes to keep me and the house cool! That is why I tend to do a lot of cooking in the late Fall. Soups and sauces to stock up the freezer with. I really love it!
But with it almost hitting 100F yesterday, why oh why I was craving a thick soup instead of a fruit salad is beyond me! But I was! And thankfully the recipe I really wanted to make cooks in a crockpot! Silly me, I decided if I was going to make this, I might as well make a double batch and have some to put in the freezer. I know it is a little early to get started on that Fall stockpile, but this was my mood and I went with it!
The recipe came from a murder mystery by Susan Wittig Albert titled Holly Blues. I love murder mysteries and all the books in the China Bayles series have herb influenced names and make me want to grow an herb garden. (I have tried several times and it never works...but doesn't mean I don't think about having all those lovely fresh herbs at the ready.) Like I said earlier, I doubled the recipe. Below is the recipe as it was originally written with my personalized comments in italics. Doubling it changed a few of the proportions and also meant that I ended up using BOTH my crockpots because I couldn't fit it all in my largest one! So here's a hint: don't make a double batch until you see how much it makes!
1 lb ready to eat smoked sausage, cut in half lengthwise and into 1/2 “ slices
3 cups cubed potatoes
½ medium onion
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper
1 bay leaf(I used 3 for my double batch)
1 15-16 oz can cream-style corn(I could only find 14 oz cans so I used 3 for my double batch - like my math?)
1 can mushroom soup(cream of mushroom)
2 cups chicken broth(I always prefer the low salt broth if I don't have homemade.)
2 cups milk
1 tsp dried thyme(I used 3 tsp for my double batch)
1 tsp dried savory (I used 3 tsp for my double batch - J put this in and used the leaves instead of ground. they worked out fine!)
snipped fresh chives or parsley
Place sausage, potatoes, onion, carrots, bell pepper, and bay leaf in slow cooker. Combine corn, soup, and broth, and add to the cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 7 hours. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove bay leaf, stir chowder, and add milk and herbs. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with dollops of sour cream and sprinkles of snipped chives or parsley.
My additional comments:
- Because I was starting late in the day, I combined the canned items in the crockpot and got them started while I did all my chopping.
- I also chopped my veggies smaller than I would normally. I suggest 3/4" ish. 1" always seems too big!
- I added some ground pepper - 3 or 4 grinds for the entire double batch. I debated garlic. It is hard for me to cook without garlic, but it doesn't need it.
- Since I doubled the recipe, I used 2 different smoked sausages. One was a beef sausage and the other was polska kielbasa. While I normally prefer the kielbasa, I think the beef sausage is better in this dish.
- At the end, I felt the chowder was too soupy. I decided this was probably due to the extra can of creamed corn. Next time I will go with my first thought and just add more corn! Leftover (ha! we never have leftovers) grilled corn would be terrific in this!
- I didn't help matters by using fat free milk instead of whole milk. We use fat free and unless a recipe specifically calls for whole milk, I use what I have. In the future I will probably go for the whole milk.
- To try and combat the soupy-ness, I kept the lids off the crockpots for those last 15 minutes of cooking (which I stretched out to about 30 minutes) to try and cook some liquid off. It helped.
- What really helped was the sour cream. After bowling up the soup, I added a dollop of sour cream and some more black pepper. It was delicious!
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you make the soup and what you think....or if you read a China Bayles book. I really enjoy them!
(and I am sorry....I can NOT figure out how or why the font size and type changes throughout this post. It has been awhile and my blogging skills are rusty!)