longs days, slow cook

open book

I am sorry I have been away for so long! I have been busy. Very Busy. Some may know and some may not, but I am a grad student finishing up my thesis in the next 2 months and I barely have time to breathe never mind cook!

So I am hoping to squeeze in a few things between now and my final thesis deadline in late January but forgive me if I am a little slow about posting. Now as I head into the holidays I am going to have even more things to juggle!

These busy days call for the helping hand of the slow-cooker. There is nothing better than dumping a few things in and hours later having a meal waiting for you. My latest creation was inspired by the cold night and the fact that I happened to have potatoes on hand.

I put scrubbed, chopped to bite size potatoes into the slow-cooker with a couple of tablespoons of butter and 1 smallish-medium onion chopped small. I opened a can of creamed corm and a can of niblet corn and added that. Next a can of low sodium broth, a dash of ground nutmeg, dash of garlic powder and plenty of salt and pepper. I also happened to have a small ham steak in the fridge so that got chopped and added too, but you could leave out for a vegetarian version. I let the whole thing cook on low for 8-10 hours till potatoes were tender. (consult your crock pot directions for times/settings as you may want to do high for a shorter time) At this point I took out my immersion blender and gave the mix a quick couple of pulses just to “thicken it up” with the blended potatoes etc. I added about a cup of half and half, adjusted for salt and pepper and served!

It came out delicious, couldn’t have been easier and sustained me  and my husband for several servings each while I march onward towards my academic goals!



Chicken Corn Stew

chicken corn stew


1 forgotten random frozen chicken breast on the bone (split breast)

1 large-ish onion peeled and quartered

a pinch of whole peppercorns

1 peeled but whole garlic clove

salt – liberal amount

water – about 6 cups

slow cooker and about 4-6 hours to run it on high

“almost-caramelized-but-not-quite” onions – start with about 1/2 of a large fresh one.

2 +/- tbsp butter

couple diced bacon strips if you happen to have some on hand.

couple cups of frozen corn

roux:  2  +/- tbsp flour   Or   slurry: 2 +/- tbsp water and 2  +/- tbsp arrowroot, mixed

chopped up leftover fresh herbs hanging around the refrigerator from who knows when. (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc)

a couple of red potatoes. dice small and/or parboil if you wish.


Combine the top 6 ingredients together in the slow cooker and turn on high for 4-6 hours. Turn off and let cool while you brown-almost caramelize- a fresh 1/2 onion sliced thin (In the bacon fat/slices if you are using  – plus 2 tbsp of butter) in a heavy-bottom large pan. Now add the flour for the roux method and cook a minute.  (otherwise skip this step and move on)

Deglaze the pan with the strained stock from the slow cooker. Whisk and cook a few minutes. If using slurry method instead of roux, add your slurry now and whisk.

Add the fresh herbs, the cooked chicken meat from slow-cooker breast, the frozen corn, and the potatoes. Salt and pepper liberally. Thin with plain hot water if need be.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked and you can no longer stand the yummy smell filling the house. Serves 4 heartily.

The Other “Chowdah”

That would be corn chowder. (or “chowdah” as they say around here in Boston)

Clam gets all the fame but frankly I like a hearty cup of corn chowder much more than clam. Okay confession time: I hate clams and always have. Gasp! A native New England-er hates clams! Plus my dad who was from California preferred the red “Manhattan style” clam chowder that came out of a can! Double Gasp!! So that is what I thought all clam chowder smelled and looked like for a long time.

Basically I am saying it is not my fault that I don’t like clams.

Now my husband – he LOVES clams. So the real challenge was getting him to realize you can have chowder without clams!

Just add bacon. That makes everything okay. And he loved it. I know he genuinely loved it because he ate it two or three times over the next few days after I made it. And he hardly ever eats a leftover.

The Recipe

2 cups of corn kernels – I happened to have some leftover roasted on the cob from this summer in my freezer – but any will do.

2 cups potatoes, cooked but still firm and diced large – peel if you want. I don’t. ( I used leftover baked potato)

4 ozs of bacon – diced small – low sodium is nice to use.

1 medium onion diced small

1 can (14.5 oz) of creamed corn – a secret trick for “upping” that corny flavor and texture.

4 cups of whole milk – best if not super-cold from the fridge

2 cups of “half and half” – same temperature tip as the milk

1 tsp +/- of dried dill weed (Secret ingredient secured from my mom’s recipe – thanks!)

1 garlic clove, peeled but whole – for subtle flavor and to be fished out later. (Also thanks to mom for that one!)

salt and pepper to taste and a big pat of butter to enrich the soup before serving if you are feeling a little decadent.

Saute the bacon in a heavy bottom pot until it is about halfway rendered. Add the diced onions and continue cooking. When onions have softened a bit and turned golden, add the corn, potatoes, dill and some salt/pepper. Toss around the pan a bit. Add the creamed corn, milk, half and half and garlic. Turn down the heat so the milk/cream won’t scald but will still continue to gently cook. (barely a simmer) This might take some playing around with your burner heat. Watch it carefully. Let cook on low for at least an hour to really marry the flavors and the dairy will thicken just a bit. Taste for seasoning – add that butter if you dare and serve.

“If you want it thicker” Tips:

You can do an old-fashioned flour roux if you like at the beginning once the onions and bacon are merrily on their way.

You could add a slurry of “masa” (finely ground corn flour) and water to “up” the corn flavor and keep it gluten-free. 1 cup liquid to 1/2 cup masa. add it after you add all the other stuff.

Mom suggests you take an extra cooked potato and blend it down with a little of the soup or even some hot water and use that to thicken the soup. That is how she does it.

For the vegetarians

Just leave out the bacon and use fat-of-choice to saute the onions. Problem solved.