Baked Potato and Leek Soup with Cheddar and Bacon (and Beer)

Baked potato soup

Yesterday was quite a day here in Ottawa. I’m not here to be political, so all I will say is that on some days you crave something comforting and warm and yesterday was one of those days.

Here is a delicious recipe for Baked Potato and Leek Soup which was exactly what a day like yesterday called for.

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Redneck Beer Can Chicken With Peruvian Purple Potatoes

Beer can chickenLast Friday was intended to be a BBQ night, as earlier in the week the weather called for a beautiful day, the warmest one of the year so far.  We had big plans to sit on our back deck, have a couple drinks, and fire up a delicious beer can chicken on the BBQ (I realized just now how completely redneck that sounds, hence the title of the recipe).  What we got were clouds, a lingering threat of rain, and temperatures dropping rather quickly towards the end of the day.  Let’s just say neither of us were in the mood to BBQ (Who am I kidding?  I am not the BBQer in the house.)  Instead, we made more or less the same recipe in the oven. Continue reading

Beef and Tomato Stew with Beyond The Pale Beer Bread

Sliced Pink Fuzz beer breadI mentioned previously that I was craving meat (check out my previous post for a delicious burger recipe).  To further appease my craving, this beef stew from Williams Sonoma is so easy to make because it doesn’t require any broth or stock, just water and tomatoes to make the base, some vegetables, and of course, slow simmered tender beef, and you have a delicious, hearty stew made completely from scratch. Continue reading

Red Fife & Hogsback Beer Bread

This was my first time ever baking bread.  I consider it a moderate success, and have learned a few things for next time.  The most important learning is that it was so simple I should do it more often!  I had been too intimidated to bake bread until I stumbled across this recipe for beer bread, and I knew I had run out of excuses.  There is no kneading, resting or rising involved!  Just a quick mix of ingredients, then into the oven.  That being said, I do need to try a proper bread recipe eventually, as I need to make use of the dough hook on my KitchenAid Mixer that is currently far too shiny and new. Continue reading

Hearty Beer & Chicken Stew

One of the things I love about fall is that it gives me an excuse to have the stove on for hours heating up the house and making comfort food.  This was originally a slow-cooker recipe from Eating Well, but my slow-cooker isn’t big enough so I translated it to stove-top and made a few other tweaks along the way.

I used local meat to make this stew.  It’s so comforting finding a local butcher (or several) who you trust and can talk to about the origins of the food they sell.  The rich, smokey bacon flavour is really the star of this stew, so if you need an excuse to find a great local butcher I say now is the time!  If you’re in the Ottawa area, I got my meat for this meal at Sasloves.

6 tbsp plus 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I use Red Fife heritage wheat)
2 1/2 pounds local boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 pieces thick-cut local bacon, chopped
1 can of stout beer (I used Guinness, but would have loved to find a local microbrew!)
1 pound carrots, diced
6 medium red skinned potatoes, diced
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups organic chicken broth
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Combine 6 tablespoons flour with about 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge chicken thighs in the mixture to coat; transfer to a plate.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add half the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a clean plate and repeat with more oil and second half of chicken. Remove it to the plate also.

3. Add bacon to the pot and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Add beer and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. (This whole mess with the flour was really annoying, but worth it – it helps the wonderful bacon flavour permeate throughout the stew!)

4. Add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and broth.  Stir.  Turn down heat to low.  Cover and simmer about half an hour.

5. Add potatoes.  Cook another 20 minutes.

6. Stir in peas, cook for 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.