Category Archives: corn

Roasted Chicken, Corn & Saffron Soup

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Some days just call for soup. Here in Belgium, even though the calendar says it is spring, we still have days that are decidedly chilly. And when it is cool outside nothing warms the body more than a comforting bowl of soup. Chicken soup is a family favorite and this soup, from Saveur , proves that not all chicken soups are the same.

You start by roasting your own chicken, which is incredibly easy (and as a bonus the cooking of the chicken takes the chill off of the house on a cool day). If you aren’t up to roasting your own bird, or are pressed for time, you can substitute a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken but then you won’t have the rich pan drippings which add so much flavor and depth to the soup. The soup is studded with both corn and noodles and the surprising addition of saffron adds both a rich golden color and an earthiness that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

This definitely isn’t your grandmother’s chicken noodle soup but it is so delicious that it is sure to become a new family favorite. So the next time the weather turns chilly, fire up the oven, turn on the stove and make this soup.  You won’t be disappointed.

ROASTED CHICKEN, CORN & SAFFRON SOUP

1 (3–4 pounds) whole chicken
2 tablespoonsolive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 cups chicken stock
4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
34 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
12 ounces egg noodles
  • Heat the oven to 400°.
  • In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, rub the chicken with the olive oil and then liberally season the outside with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the chicken until golden brown and very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the dish to a rack, lift the chicken from the dish, and place the chicken on a cutting board.
  • Let the chicken stand until cool enough to handle and then pick the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Roughly chop the meat and transfer to a large saucepan.
  • Pour 2 cups chicken stock into the baking dish and scrape the dish with a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom.
  • Pour the stock from the dish into the saucepan with the chicken along with the remaining 10 cups stock.
  • Add the corn and saffron to the broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the stock is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the egg noodles and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Serves 8

Hamburger Soup

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Soup is one of my favorite meals and since so many soups are quick to make, they are a  staple in my house. Filling, warming and satisfying soups make for the perfect dinner when paired with crusty bread and make even better leftovers for lunch the next day. And just about anything can be turned into a satisfying soup. This recipe, adapted from The Noble Pig has quickly become a favorite in my house where I liberally substitute the vegetables and even the ground meat depending upon what I have on hand. And thanks to the tangy and flavorful V-8, another favorite pantry staple, the broth is rich and flavorful without hours of cooking.

So if you are looking for a fast and tasty weeknight dinner idea, look no further than this soup. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

HAMBURGER SOUP

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

2 pounds ground beef

1-1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick coins

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 leek, white and green parts only, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups beef broth

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

15 ounces V-8 vegetable juice

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 pound small dry pasta

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Place a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, using a spoon to crumble the meat.
  • Drain off the fat.
  • Add the carrots, celery, leek, corn, broth, V8, garlic and oregano to the meat mixture.
  • Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Return the temperature to high, add the pasta to the pot and cook until the pasta is al dental,8-10 minutes depending upon the size of your pasta.
  • Stir in vinegar right before serving.

Serves 6-8

Queen’s Pie

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I’ve always been a fan of chicken pot pie. It is the ultimate in comfort food and is the perfect use for both left over chicken as well as those chicken breasts in your refrigerator that need jazzing up. And because I’m a fan of pot pies, I naturally gravitate to them when they appear on a restaurant menu. So when I spotted something called “Queen’s Pie” on a restaurant menu recently I just had to inquire as to what it was.

My inquiry was met with a chuckle from the waiter who went on in broken English to describe a dish that contained chicken, meatballs and vegetables in a creamy broth. To me it sounded a lot like chicken pot pie and that is exactly what it was and it didn’t disappoint.

Back at home I set out to recreate this dish. Because I made this for a weeknight dinner, I used pre-made meatballs and puff pastry shells that just needed to be heated in the oven but if you have the time, could make both of these from scratch if you prefer. I augmented the meat with a generous amount of vegetables–in this case peas and corn–since they are favorites in my house and combined in all in a creamy sauce. The results were a hit. After all what isn’t to love about a chicken pot pie with meatballs!

QUEEN’S PIE

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small coins

1 stalk celery, diced

1 leek, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup dry sherry

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 bay leaves

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

24 – 1/2 inch meatballs

3/4 cup frozen peas

3/4 cup canned corn

6 puff pastry shells

  • Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery, leek and salt and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
  • Add in the garlic and saute for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the flour and the sherry, scraping up any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the broth, cream, and bay leaves and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
  • Gently stir in the chicken and meatballs.
  • Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Discard the bay leaves and stir in the peas and corn, heating until the vegetables are hot.
  • Cook the pastry shells according to package instructions.
  • To serve, generously fill the pastry with the meat mixture.

Serves 6

Creamy Herbed Polenta w/ Mushrooms

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One of my favorite side dishes in polenta. Warm and creamy it is satisfying on its own and makes the perfect bed for soaking up rich sauces and stews. When dining out I will often select a dish simply because the main entree is accompanied by polenta. But despite my love of this dish, until recently I rarely cooked it at home. Why? After all making it is quite simple; all you really need is boiling water and cornmeal and a spoon for stirring. Lots of stirring. And that is why I tended to shy away from making homemade polenta. Try as I might; experimenting with temperature, cooking apparatus and spoon, my polenta would inevitably end up filled with unappetizing lumps. But then I broke out my slow cooker.

Yes, polenta made in a slow cooker. Really, nothing could be easier and best of all, there simply aren’t any lumps. I love it. This recipe is from  William Sonoma and is everything a good polenta should be. It is rich and creamy and this version is studded with corn kernels. By topping it off with sautéed mushrooms you have a complete meal by itself. Or you can serve it along side your favorite meat dish that has lots of juice you want to sop up.

CREAMY HERBED POLENTA w/ MUSHROOMS

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 cup stone-ground polenta

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot, finely chopped

3/4 pound brushed clean and quartered

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup  fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels

  • In a slow cooker, stir together the stock, polenta, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper.
  • Cover and cook on the low setting for 3 to 3 1⁄2 hours, stirring two or three times if possible. The liquid should be absorbed and the polenta should be thick and soft and no longer gritty.
  • About 10 minutes before the polenta is ready, in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil.
  • Add the shallot and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and their liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and parsley, season with remaining salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute more.
  • About 5 minutes before the polenta is ready, stir in the oregano and thyme, Parmesan and corn kernels, then re-cover.
  • Spoon the polenta into warm shallow bowls or a serving bowl and top with the mushroom mixture.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Meat & Bean Chili

 

Chili For A Chilly Day

Cool weather + the weekend + Sunday football games mean only one thing: its also chili season. No matter whether you like yours with beans or without, filled with meat or vegetarian friendly, in a red sauce or a white one, spicy or mild, this is definitely the season for chili. And in my house we certainly love chili of all kinds. White chicken chili, sweet potato and black bean chili and even a pumpkin and sausage chili mixed with macaroni are all good but sometimes a more traditional chili is in order. And when that is the case, this is my go-to recipe.

This chili is filled with meat, beans and vegetables and most importantly, packed with flavor. If you prefer you can make it in a slow cooker; simply place all of the ingredients in the crock, set the temperature to low and let it cook for eight hours. Or you can cook it as I do on top of the stove. Let it simmer on low all afternoon and by the time the game is on you’ll have a hot bowl of chili. Top the chili with cheese, sour cream and diced avocado and serve it with a side of corn chips or corn bread.

MEAT & BEAN CHILI

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot thinly sliced
4-5 fresh bell peppers- I used a mix of red and green
4 small jalapeño peppers
1 lb ground beef (can substitute ground pork, veal, lamb or a combination of meats)
1/2 lb veal cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can corn kernels, drained
2 11.5 ounce cans beans- I prefer kidney beans
3 11.5 ounce cans whole Roma tomatoes- roughly chopped
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce- adjust based on preferences
3-4 tablespoons chili powder- I like Penzeys Spice Medium Hot Chili Powder– but adjust based on personalpreferences.

  • Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy duty pot and place over medium high heat.
  • Add the onions, garlic, peppers, carrot, and jalapenos to the pot.
  • Add the salt and stirring frequently, cook for 8-10 minutes until soft.
  • Add the meats and cook until well browned being sure to break up any larger pieces as you go.
  • Add the corn, the drained and rinsed beans and tomatoes with their juice and mix to combine.
  • Stir in the Tabasco sauce and the chili powder.
  • Stir, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low.
    Continue to cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to meet your personal tastes.
  • I let the chili cook on low all afternoon and it tastes even better when reheated the next day.  The longer the chili cooks the more the flavors will develop.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and sliced avocado if desired.

Serves 6-8

Chipotle Beef & Corn Salad

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Salads make a great summer dinner but for me, they must be satisfying to eat and keep me full (so I don’t get the post-dinner munchies). We grill a lot in our household and most grilling nights I will throw an extra steak (or other protein) on the grill so I can turn it into a dinner salad for the next night. That makes the next night’s dinner even easier.

So here’s a spicy and satisfying dinner salad that I adapted from Williams Sonoma that fits the bill to a tee. The steak is mildly seasoned yet completely satisfying; you can serve it either hot off of the grill or cold. The lime juice makes the corn salsa tangy and the avocados temper the entire dish. Be forewarned: the chipolte dressing is smoky and spicy with quite a bit of heat so a little goes a long way. Of course, I love to pile the dressing on since in my mind there is rarely such a thing as too much heat.

CHIPOLTE BEEF & CORN SALAD

1 flank steak, about 1 1/4 pounds

1 teaspoon adobo seasoning

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup canned chipolte chiles in adobo sauce

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon water

2 ears of corn, kernels removed

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

6 radishes, diced

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

2 heads romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

  • Place the steak on a plate and sprinkle the adobo seasoning, salt and pepper on both sides of the meat. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat a grill to medium-high heat.
  • Place the meat on the grill and cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until the meat is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
  • Remove the steak from the grill and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice the meat into 1/2 inch slices against the grain.
  • To make the dressing, combine the chipolte chiles, the olive oil, juice of 1 lime, vinegar, garlic and water into a small bowl. Using a stick blender, puree until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the corn, orange and green peppers, radishes and tomatoes.
  • Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime over the corn mixture, add the cilantro and stir well.
  • Divide the lettuce amongst four plates. Place 3 slices of steak on top of each pile of lettuce. Add a scoop of the salsa.
  • Divide the avocado amongst the plates then drizzle the salad with the chipolte dressing.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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This is a fun dinner idea courtesy of Noble Pig. I love the classic chicken pot pie and I’m also a fan of soup so why not combine the two into a satisfying and delicious chicken pot pie soup. This dish features all of the best parts of a pot pie: tender chicken, crisp vegetables and a creamy sauce which in this meal, serves as the basis for the soup. And to complete the fun you even get a crust in the form of a crispy puff pastry biscuit.

I’ve made this soup using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you prefer, you can also use precooked chicken. If you go this route, simply cut or shred the chicken into bite sized pieces and add it to the broth along with the corn, peas and cream. I like to make the soup ahead of time then add the peas and corn to the broth while it is reheating. You can prepare and bake your puff pastry during this time as well.

CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP

One puff pastry sheet, thawed

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

4 tablespoons butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 leek, diced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1-1/4 cups red potatoes, scrubbed and diced

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1-1/2 teaspoons dried sage

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Defrost the puff pastry by allowing it to sit at room temperature for one hour. Alternatively you can let the puff pastry defrost in the refrigerator over night.
  • Melt the butter in a large soup pot set over medium.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery and leek and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the potatoes, chicken, chicken broth, sherry, sage, salt and nutmeg.
  • Raise the temperature to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cook until the soup is thickened and the chicken has cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the corn and peas and cook until heated through.
  • Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cream.
  • While the chicken is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • To make the puff pastry biscuits, place the pastry sheet on a flat surface and use a biscuit cutter to cut out six rounds.
  • Place the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the thyme and paprika.
  • Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden in color.
  • Place one biscuit on top of each bowl of soup and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Shepherd’s Pie

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Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and today, regardless of your ancestry, everyone is Irish. So what better way to celebrate the day with a bit of Irish comfort food. I first ate Shepherd’s pie in my elementary school cafeteria. There is was a bland plateful of unseasoned meat topped with instant potatoes. I wasn’t impressed and therefore avoided the dish for years. But then years later, sitting in an Irish pub in Boston, Massachusetts on Saint Patrick’s Day I tried it again and discovered what the dish is supposed to taste like. And I loved it.

This recipe from Epicurious features ground lamb, onions and carrots cooked in a rich broth. A layer of tender corn kernels are then topped with real mashed potatoes. The results are a satisfying and comforting dish that the entire family will love. If you will be pressed for time, you can assemble the dish ahead of time then pop it in the oven when you are ready to put dinner on the table. If it has been sitting in the refrigerator, let the dish come to room temperature before baking and increase the cooking time by ten minutes.

SHEPHERD’S PIE

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 pound ground lamb

1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary

1 cup corn kernels

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

Paprika, for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Warm the oil in a large skillet, set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrot and lamb. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain off any fat and add the broth, tomato paste, parsley and rosemary to the skillet. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 additional minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
  • Top with the corn and set aside.
  • While the meat is cooking, bring the potatoes to a boil in a pot of salted water.
  • Cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, then drain.
  • Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk and salt.
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the meat and corn.
  • Sprinkle with the paprika.
  • Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

 

Chicken Tamale Pie

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How do you make a pot of chili even more comforting? Top it with cornbread then bake it until bubbling! This recipe, from Food 52, does just that, turning a warm and spicy stew into a one dish casserole that is sure to please everyone. And unlike many chilies, it doesn’t require long hours of slow cooking. The entire dish is actually quite simple with chicken, beans and corn simmering along with spices in a tomato broth. I’ve used all black beans in my version but you can use different beans or even a combination of beans. Use whatever you like or have on hand. The cornmeal topping is essentially polenta and this simple topping makes the dish feel like a complete meal.

This is so good and so satisfying. And as I discovered, it tastes even better when reheated the next day for lunch. You might even want to double the recipe!

CHICKEN TAMALE PIE

For the filling:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can sweet corn, drained

1 4-ounce can green chilies

1 12-ounce can diced tomatoes

 
For the topping:3/4 cup yellow cornmeal1/2 teaspoon saltcups watertablespoon unsalted butter

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • In a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers.
  • Add the cubed chicken, garlic, coriander, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Add chopped onion to the pot and cook down until soft and fragrant.
  • Add beans, corn, chilies, and tomatoes.
  • Bring mix to a boil and allow to cook and thicken. After the mixture has thickened, stir in the chicken and cook until heated through.
  • Remove chili from heat.
  • In a small pot, heat water and salt over medium high heat to almost boiling.
  • Stir in the cornmeal and continue whisking while it incorporates the water and thickens, about 5 minutes.
  • When it is thick, add the butter and mix in to melt. Remove from heat.
  • Pour the chili into a deep casserole dish then spread the cornmeal mixture evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is firm and slightly browned.
  •  Allow to cool briefly, and then scoop into bowls to serve.

 Serves 6

Chicken Corn Chowder

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I don’t know about where you are, but here in Belgium it is still soup weather. (Actually, most of the year is soup weather but I digress)….. And this is fortunate since I am a huge fan of soups. They are warm, comforting and satisfying in a way that few other foods are. Plus, with our increasingly busy schedules, they make for the perfect quick dinner. You can make them ahead of time and then reheat when you are ready to eat. And I find that most soups actually taste better this way so it is a win-win.

This chowder is filled with chicken, corn and potatoes making for a filling meal. My preference is to always use fresh corn but when it isn’t in season, as is the case now, canned works. And even when I use fresh corn I also like to include a can of creamed corn since it makes the soup that much thicker and richer tasting. And most importantly, don’t skip the sherry; it infuses a wonderful taste to the entire soup.

CHICKEN CORN CHOWDER

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups baby red potatoes, skin on and diced

1 14 ounce can whole kernel corn

1 14 ounce can creamed corn

1 cup heavy cream

3 1/2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup dry sherry

  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pancetta and stirring occasionally, cook until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add in the onion, celery, carrots, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
  • Stir in the cubed chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and both types of corn to the pot and stir to combine then pour in the cream and milk.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to almost a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Uncover the pot, stir in the sherry and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serves 6

 

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