023Webster’s online dictionary defines chowder as:

chow·der
CHoudər/
noun: chowder; plural noun: chowders
A thick soup containing fish or shellfish, especially clams, and vegetables, such as potatoes and onions, in a milk or tomato base.

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With winter on the horizon, I thought I’d get busy making a large batch of my chicken corn chowder for individual pot pies. In my minds eye, I’ll be eating some of these by a warm fire as rainstorm soaks northern California. As part of my give-back initiative, I’m making five servings for a neighborhood friend who is a bit down on her luck. This recipe is guaranteed to nourish both the body and soul and it’s a recipe I’ve been perfecting for a few years. Chowders are rustic – if you don’t have all the ingredients below, feel free to improvise a bit…

Ingredients and directions: (makes 14 individual pot pies)

Cook and then puree the following ingredients with one 15 oz. can of low sodium chicken stock:

1 red pepper – diced
3 serrano peppers – whole
6-8 slices of bacon – diced
Remove these ingredients, strain, and puree as directed above.

Utilizing the bacon fat, place 1 white onion to carmelize, an add the following ingredients (chopped):

8 carrots
1 bunch of celery, and
the following herbs: rosemary (2 sprigs), thyme (a handful of fresh), 3 cloves of garlic (minced).

006Allow this to cook down for about 10-15 minutes. Next, pour in the puree, and add salt n pepper to taste. Stir occasional to prevent any burning/sticking, letting that cook on medium heat for about half an hour (or as long as it takes you to prep the corn and potatoes). Note the blackened bits from the puree – such peppery and bacon-y goodness!

To that add:
6 potatoes – peeled, cubed
Corn from 4 ears (cut off cob) or 3 cups of frozen corn
2-3 cups of water (enough to cover the veggies)

004Cover medium heat while you prep the chicken. I roasted a whole chicken earlier in the day but you could use a few chicken breasts, etc. All told, I added 2.5-3 cups of shredded chicken to the chowder.

Allow all ingredients to cook on low heat for 1 hour, adding 1 c. of half n half OR 1/2 c. of whipping cream immediately before serving. Mix well and serve…. or in my case, place in individual serving containers and freeze.

Pate Brisee crust recipe (from Martha Stewart):

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Place flour, salt, and butter into a food processor and spin until contents look a slightly lumpy cornmeal. With machine running, drizzle in the ice water until a dough forms. Remove from food processor, divide, shape into discs, wrap individually, and place into the fridge for at least 1 hour. Allow to soften for approximately 5 minutes before rolling out on a lightly floured surface.

007Putting it all together:

I’ve made individual pot pies by placing 1 quart freezer bags inside nine 10 oz ramekins and a five recyclable aluminum containers. Once cooled, I placed the individual containers into the freezer (open). To prevent pre-cooking of the crust topper (which would result in soggy, gross crust), I placed the dough on top of each frozen quart bag. Similarly, I sealed the dough on the give-away individual pot pies post-freeze. Each bag and aluminum container was sealed with Press n Seal and stacked into the freezer.

013When in need of a quick winter meal, place one of the frozen bag’s contents into a ramekin, seal the dough around the ramekins’ edges, and bake in a preheated 375 F degree oven for 20 minutes (check after 15 minutes). The pot pie’s done when the crust is a lovely golden brown.

Sometime soon, I’ll post my recipe for salmon corn chowder that’s always a hit around the coastal camp fire. Stay tuned…

Postscript: Have I mentioned lately HOW MUCH I LOVE my marble countertops?! Makes rolling out dough and clean up easy-peasy!

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