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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Peameal Bacon Chowder

When the weather turns cold the soup pot is in action weekly if not more often. That is due to soups, stews, chowders and gumbos being extremely easy to make yet perfect comfort meals for cold winter nights. Left-overs warm nicely for the following day's lunch. The best part is soups, stews, chowders and gumbos do not really require any kind of recipe if you understand the basics. Soups are thinner broth based or can be cream based but the consistency is thinner. Stews are gravy based as in once the stew has been cooked to a certain point the resulting liquid is thickened to form a rich, thick gravy. Stew should always be cooked slowly to allow the gravy base to develop flavour before thickening. Chowders are always potato based usually creamy with a consistency between a soup and a stew. Another possibility is a gumbo which is usually spicier and thicker than a stew, usually seafood and/or sausage based often with rice. At any rate these are all good old-fashioned, down home comfort foods.

There are very few times that I set out to make a soup other than chicken noodle soup even though I make a lot of homemade soups. The reason for this is most of the soups and chowders I make are inspired by an ingredient or two that I want to use up. It could be left-over steak or it could be I spot a jar of vegetables in the pantry that just strikes my fancy at the time. This is where cooking really becomes fun because as Michael Smith says some of the best recipes is cooking without a recipe. Now this involves a bit of kitchen know how but this comes with practice. Certain seasonings naturally compliment certain meats. The lighter the meat the lighter the seasoning because the seasoning should never overpower and yet stronger meats require stronger seasoning because a lighter seasoning will be lost. If you are making a chowder you need potatoes, milk and/or cream and you need milk and/or cream for creamed soups. Other than that start with homemade stock then build from there and have fun making your own soups, stews and chowder creations!

peameal bacon chowderPeameal Bacon Chowder

Pork has been on sale at rock bottom prices so I've been able to cure several pork loins. Sunday night's dinner was baked home cured peameal bacon roast. Left over peameal bacon makes a lovely sandwich but this time I decided to make a chowder. This recipe just evolved as I started putting things together building one layer at a time. The recipe I created mentions peameal bacon drippings. When a peameal bacon roast is baked in a covered casserole dish there will be about a half cup of liquid when the roast is finished. This will congeal. I removed the thin flat layer then used the rest in the chowder. The end result was a rich, flavourful, creamy chowder. True comfort food!

Peameal Bacon Chowder
recipe by Garden Gnome

2 tbsp sweet butter
4 c turkey stock
½ lg Spanish onion
1 lg bay leaf
4 c potato cubes
2 lg carrots diced
1 rib celery, sliced thin
2 tsp garlic salt with parsley
3 c baked peameal bacon, cubed
½ c drippings from baked peameal bacon
1 c niblet corn
1½ c whole milk
2 tbsp unbleached flour

Prepare onion, carrots and celery. Melt butter in stock pot then add vegetables. Sweat until onions are just translucent. Stir in prepared potatoes, turkey stock, bay leaf, seasoning and peameal bacon drippings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Stir in the corn and bacon. Stir in most of the milk reserving just enough to make a slurry with the flour. Bring the chowder to a low simmer then stir in the slurry to thicken. Ladle in bowls and serve.

2 food lovers commented:

A Year on the Grill said...

This is an excellent post. I am learning, and soups, stews and gumbos are a part of that learning curve.

it is 8 degrees outside right now... i want a bowl of this... chowder!

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Dave :) Once you get the hang of making soups, stews, chowders and gumbos you will find yourself making them quite often. I think I'll write a Frugal Kitchens 101 on this topic to give a bit better idea of my thought process when I'm creating soups, stews, chowders and gumbos. Watch for that on the 28th of this month just in time for using up a bit of holiday left-overs.