Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

There were a lot of great things at our local farmer’s market this past weekend. I typically buy things that I may or may not know what I am going to use. Maybe that is a challenge, who knows, but the recent visit I bought a bunch of great potatoes, leeks, and garlic, among a few other items. When I was looking at the produce, I figured I would make a big batch of soup. The weather was getting a bit cooler, so I figured this would be a great time for a nice comforting soup. That’s when the idea of a nice creamy potato, leek, and chicken soup came to mind. Heck, I was probably thinking I wanted a loaded bake potato soup, or a leek soup, or chicken noodle soup, so I decided to bring them all together for the most part, and I’m glad I did. This soup rocked and impressed my soup eaters, that for sure.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced, washed
  • 1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pickled chili peppers, optional

Start by adding the butter to a stock pot, and melt it on medium heat. Once melted, toss in the sliced leeks. Make sure you wash the leeks after slicing as a bunch of grit typically remains in the leeks.

Cook the leeks for about 5 minutes, or until they are nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper, then add in garlic, cooking another couple of minutes. Add in the cooked potatoes, sprigs of thyme, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the sprigs of thyme and discard.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Now you have a couple of options at this point. You can blend this mixture in a food processor or blender, or if you have an immersion blender, use that. Blend until you have a smooth mixture, then return back to the stock pot and cook on low.

Add the shredded chicken, and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with any additional salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to serve.

Ladle into a soup bowl, and garnish with pickled chilies if you desire (I prefer).

The end result is nothing but pure comfort. The smoothness you get from the soup is perfectly balanced by the shredded chicken, and if you are using any type of pickled chilies, then it gets even better, not only from the heat, but it cuts through some of that awesomeness. Plus, this soup, as noted, brings out the best of all three soups. I hope you enjoy!

Simple Burger Sauce

Grilling season is coming to an end for many in the state of Wisconsin. I think this is officially the last day of summer, and as much as that pleases me (I love fall in Wisconsin), it disappoints me as well. I mean winter is coming, and that can get pretty long here in our state. With that said, my grill continues to heat up all year round, but for those that tuck them away until spring time, I figured I would give you my simple burger sauce recipe. Think of it as the ‘Big Mac’ sauce in a way, and one that really brings a great grilled burger together.

Yes, I ate that, well most of it.

Special Burger Sauce Recipe
Special Burger Sauce Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp French dressing
  • 2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tbsp minced white onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar

That’s it. Pretty much things most folks might have in their refrigerator. As I love a burger with just mayonnaise and pickles, I figured I would step it up and mix these together to give a sweet, tangy, and creamy sauce. This one totally delivers.

Special Burger Sauce Recipe Ingredients
Special Burger Sauce Recipe Ingredients

Place all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until thoroughly combined.

When your burger is done grilling, slather it on the top, and bottom buns and enjoy. This one was stacked with a sauced bottom bun, lettuce, burger, pickles, onions, more sauce, another sliced bun, cheese, burger, bacon, tomato, more lettuce, sauce, and top bun. IT WAS A DOOZY.

If you are looking for a great sauce, not only for a burger, but along the lines of a great club sandwich, give this one a shot. It only gets better after a couple of days stored in the refrigerator as well.  Hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee

If there is one thing my oldest loves, it has got to be crawfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but he’s my pickiest of eaters, 16 now, and when he tore into eating crawfish years ago I was flabbergasted. So on his most recent birthday I decided we would do a crawfish boil. I ordered 10 pounds of live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company figuring the ‘party’ would devour the boil. As much as my kids and I ate, the others simply ate a small handful, meaning I would plenty leftover. My kids and I probably spent a good 45 minutes, post party, peeling (and sucking the head juices) the tails to be used for a later dish. That dish being crawfish etouffe.

Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

If you have never heard, nor tried crawfish etoufee, it is a standard dish found in the creole or cajun area of our nation. It’s almost a staple. Etouffee is translated to ‘smother’ in French terms, and I make mine with a darker roux only to deepen the flavor and making this a super comforting recipe.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing

Sounds like a bunch of stuff, but it’s really pretty basic, and trust me it’s full of comfort.

Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.

Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.

Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.

Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.

Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.

So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

As much as my kids loved tearing through boiled crawfish, I cannot say they were much fans of this particular dish. Most likely due to the stew like texture. My wife and I on the other hand? Well, we imagined ourselves being back in New Orleans, walking the streets all day, and ending up in a great restaurant eating one of their famous dishes; crawfish etouffee.  I hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee
Author: 
Cuisine: Cajun or Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.
  2. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  4. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.
  5. Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.
  6. Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.
  7. So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

 

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Recently we went to our aunt’s annual pool party. It’s a blast as usual and our kids love spending all day in their pool, along with eating grilled burgers and hot dogs. Upon leaving their party, I was asked if I wanted a cabbage. I wasn’t about to turn it down, but in all honesty I had no clue what the heck I was going to do with it. So I thanked them for the cabbage, and then thought long and hard what the heck I was going to make with it. That’s when the light went off, and that’s when I decided to make stuffed cabbage rolls. When I mentioned that to my wife, I did not realize how excited one could get over the idea of stuffed cabbage rolls, but low and behold she did.

This was not only a great use of using up a lot of cabbage, but these things were delicious to boot.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This recipe is way too easy to make, plus it is one that is totally hearty, great for a busy work week and one that I was able to use up another batch of my tomato sauce.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • additional salt for boiling cabbage

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt. Once boiling, carefully add in the whole head of cabbage, and cook for about 4 minutes. The goal here is to soften the leaves, leaving them tender for rolling.

Carefully remove the head of cabbage and remove 6 of the outer, larger leaves. Set aside, and then return the cabbage back to the salted boiling water, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove again, and set the cabbage aside.

Next, make your meat mixture. To a mixing bowl, add the ground chuck, salt, pepper, onions, garlic powder, egg, rice, and worchestershire sauce. Mix well.

Now it is time to roll the cabbage rolls. Take one of the reserved cabbage leaves and lay it on your work surface.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

 

Add about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into the center of the cabbage leaf. Now it’s going to be like rolling a burrito or egg roll.

Fold over the meat mixture, fold in the sides, and continue to roll. Place seam side down onto a place. Repeat with remaining leaves and meat mixture.

Take the remaining cabbage leaves, about 10 or so, and place onto the bottom of your slow cooker. This helps to prevent the cabbage rolls from burning.

Arrange your cabbage rolls in the bottom of the slow cooker, pour over the tomato sauce, place the cover on, and cook for 6-7 hours. This is a perfect way to cook while you head to work.

Serve each cabbage roll on a plate and spoon over any additional tomato sauce.

These cabbage rolls rocked. Not only were they super tender on the inside, but the cabbage lent the perfect vehicle for stuffing. Was my wife still excited? You bet, and she even took one the next day for lunch, they were that good.

If you are looking for an easy meal, and have some cabbage laying around, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!