January 05, 2011

Potato Chowder and Easy Garlic Bread for a Blustery Day

It's gotten suddenly cold and blustery here in our little Iowa town, and that means comfort food is on the menu.  This is a pretty easy soup to put together, and if you have leftover ham from a holiday dinner, you can use some of it here.  Despite the milk, cream, and cheese, the soup heats up reasonably well even from a frozen state.  This is one of my son's favorite soups. 

Ian's Favorite Potato Chowder

1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, diced fine
8 cups diced potatoes
1 49-ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half cream
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups diced ham
1 15-ounce can corn
1 15-ounce can creamed corn

1.  Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large skillet.  Saute onions until cooked through.

2.  In a Dutch oven, boil potatoes in the chicken broth, adding cooked onions.

3.  When the potatoes are cooked, make a white sauce:  melt 1/2 cup of butter in the large skillet.  Blend in flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and starting to bubble.  Remove from heat, stir in milk and half-and-half.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for one minute.  Add the white sauce to the cooked potato mixture in the Dutch oven.

4.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook until cheese melts and all ingredients are heated through.

Cheater's Garlic Bread- this is so easy, it's not really even a recipe!  Buy a loaf of good Italian or French bread at the grocery.  Split in half, and spread generously with softened butter.  Sprinkle with a good quality garlic powder and dried parsley.  Close the two halves back together and wrap with foil.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until butter has melted.  Voila!  Garlic bread!  And you don't have to pay twice as much for the already-wrapped-in-foil loaves from the store!

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