Saturday, January 16, 2010

Southwestern Potato, Crab And Corn Chowder... The Perfect Cold Weather Comfort Food

This year West Texas has been experiencing the coldest weather in more than 20 years, for the longest period of time. Therefore, all I seem to want to do is make soups, stews, and chowders; then curl up by the fire with a good read or a new movie. I'm afraid Mr. Snoots is growing tired of this, being the West Texas born and raised guy that he is. Unfortunately, he's just going to have to bear with me until the weather turns warm once again. Having grown up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, this is just the way I roll. I happen to know that you need something to eat that will stick to your ribs when the temperatures plunge into the teens, with even colder wind chill factors.

Now, during the summer I usually wait for an excellent deal on corn-on-the-cob, like when they are 10 ears for $2.00. Then, I get them home and roast all of them over a fire with hickory smoke, scrape the kernels of corn from the cob, divide it evenly among freezer bags, label the bags, and toss them in the freezer. The reason I do this is so I can have it available for meals such as this, without all the fuss of having to do the corn first. And really, who wants to grill outdoors when it's below freezing? Not I.

So, all I have to do is make the potato soup, which I always seem to make way too much of. We usually have the Potato Soup the first couple of nights, then I totally change it up by adding the corn and the crab, plus a bit of Gruyere cheese and Parmesan cheese. It totally changes the taste and texture of the soup, by becoming a chowder. It's so filling that I usually find it necessary to eat several cups of it, in intervals. I do hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Potato, Corn And Crab Chowder:


4 cups of chicken broth

3 cups of potatoes, diced

1-1/2 cups of onions, diced

1 cup of celery, diced

1 bay leaf

1 cup of baby carrots, diced

5 to 10 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 cups of milk (or Half & Half if you're young)

5 Tablespoons of butter

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper, freshly ground

1 Tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 - 7 ounce can of diced green chiles

1 package of crab chunks (For Heaven's sake please don't use the fake crab.)

1 package of previously frozen roasted corn


1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, and potatoes. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth and the bay leaf, making sure that the broth covers the vegetables by about an inch to an inch and a half. Place the lid on the pan and allow the veggies to simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. Now you can add the carrots, salt, and pepper. Add more broth if necessary and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

4. When the vegetables are thoroughly cooked, remove the pan from the fire and use a potato masher to crush at least half of the veggies.

5. Return the pan to the fire and bring almost to the point of boiling. Add the milk (or Half & Half).

6. Now you can add the corn, the chopped green chiles, and the crab. Simmer over medium-low heat for an additional 30 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

7. Before the last 15 minutes of simmering, add the chopped fresh parsley. Serve, when time is up, with fresh French or sourdough bread.

You can thank me later...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shredded Pork Tenderloin Enchiladas With Mole Sauce, Guacamole And Spanish Rice

This is my favorite use of leftover pork tenderloin and the two of us can usually squeeze two nights of meals out of it as well as put one in the freezer. You can also use leftover rice for the Spanish rice, if you have it on hand. Just follow the recipe without the [rice] cooking time; it can be done quickly in a skillet.

To shred the pork I use a salad fork, which is the perfect tool for the job. I have to restrain myself from eating the shredded pork even though I know how delicious these enchiladas will be. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do.

Oh, and I did cheat a little by using store bought pre-packaged Guacamole. So sue me. It got the job done.

Shredded Pork Tenderloin Enchiladas:

Mole Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced chiles and tomatoes (I use Rotel)

1 (1 ounce) semi-sweet baking chocolate

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cumino

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Enchiladas Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound of cooked pork, shredded

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

10 - 8 inch corn tortillas

3/4 cup co-jack cheese, shredded

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all sauce ingredients in 2 qt. saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Cool slightly. Place mixture in food processor or a blender with metal blade. Cover and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter in 10 inch skillet until sizzling; add onion. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Stir in 1/2 cup of mole sauce, shredded pork and cayenne pepper; mix well.

Divide pork mixture evenly among the 10 tortillas; roll up tortillas. Place into greased 13x9-inch baking dish, seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over  enchiladas; sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

Spanish Rice:

1 cup long grain white rice

1 can Rotel green chiles and tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon butter

dash of salt

dash of pepper


Bring Rotel and broth to a boil. Add butter, salt, pepper and rice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff. Serve.