How do these two relate to each other you might ask? Well, I just started getting Acupuncture for a chronic problem I’ve had for YEARS. The good news is it’s helping! With January’s theme of Organizing in mind, and because of what needs acupuncture, my style of cooking has been to prepare dishes ahead of time. This way when issues flare, there’s always real food ready to go. When we get the opportunity to travel, there is something I can always raid from my freezer because previous meals were “banked”. Recent “deposits” have been things like 10-layer lasagna, Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup, Braised Beef Enchiladas, Chicken Enchilada Soup, Cornmeal and Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes. What could be better than homemade fast food? Not only is it comfort food, there’s comfort in knowing what is in it.
Regardless of how you feel about meat, fat, dairy, gluten, salt or carbs, I embrace the principle of “everything in moderation”. Pre-portioned meals for later works for me and is perfect for RV travel. In fact, when it comes to cooking in the RS2ndH, I subscribe to the KISS principle. (Although there are variations of this, I’m going with, Keep It Super Simple.) There’s a fine line for me about how much cooking I want to do when I’m on the road, especially when there are opportunities to experience regional foods. I like to do both, and like the Boy Scouts, find it’s good to be prepared!
Recently, I tried a new recipe in my slow cooker. Now, I’ve never made friends with my slow cooker, since most the recipes I’ve tried end up exactly like this one did when I first tasted it. I almost tossed the whole mess, before wondering how I could add some layers of flavor. The adaptation salvaged a very bland dish, by adding some body and…TWANG. (Not Tang, but Twang; a very important distinction.) In fact, after a day or two passed, I wasn’t entirely certain it was as good as I remembered until I tried it the second time. IT IS. (Maybe we can be friends after all.) Lucky Me, there’s a quart in my freezer, just waiting for the next trip.
My secret ingredients involved browning an onion, making a roux, adding some spices, a little fat and…Bacon. (Don’t Freak Out. Remember…Everything in moderation.) I am fortunate to have Penzey’s in the area, so that’s where I get my spices. The first paragraph is the recipe as I found it originally. The rest is all mine. I’m pretty sure you’ll want some of this, so here you are.
LET’S BE FRIENDS SAUSAGE CORN CHOWDER
1 lb. ready to eat smoked sausage, cut in half lengthwise and into 1/2 inch slices (Kielbasa)
3 cups cubed potatoes, diced medium small
2 onions, large and medium dice
1 red bell pepper, large dice
1-15 oz. can cream style corn
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
2 cups and 1/4 cup chicken broth, divided
Parmesan cheese rinds, 6 pieces
3 slices bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch horizontal strips and cooked crisp
2 T. bacon fat
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 cups milk
1 t. Fine Herbes
1 t. Mural of Flavor
1 t. salt
2 T. Peppercorn Ranch dressing base
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Place sausage, potatoes, onion, carrots, bell pepper, bay leaf and Parmesan cheese rinds in a slow cooker. Combine soup, corn and 2 cups broth, mixing together. Add to the cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-1/2 hours.
One half hour before serving, brown one medium diced onion in 2 T. bacon fat. on medium heat. Add the salt halfway through, and finish browning. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup chicken broth. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. Add the milk slowly, stirring with a whisk, until mixture has thickened. Stir in the Peppercorn Ranch Dressing base, Mural of Flavor and Fine Herbes.
Add the thickened milk mixture, caramelized onions and garlic to the slow cooker. Cover and heat all together for 15 minutes, adding the crisp bacon at the end of the cooking time. Ladle into bowls and serve.
TIPS: Freeze the bacon before slicing into 1/4 inch strips, 30-40 minutes.
I always save the rinds of Parmesan cheese in the freezer. This soup is the perfect place to use them for a flavor boost.
If you’re in the south Kansas City area and wondering if acupuncture could help you, the answer is most likely YES. I won’t tell you how many doctors I’ve seen, trying to get some relief. You would need all the fingers on both hands to count them. THIS is who you want to see. You’ll be so glad you did. Highly Recommended by me:
Sandra Wilkes, D.O.M., L.Ac.
Blue Valley Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, P.A.
6885 W. 151st St., Suite 102
Overland Park, KS 66223