Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Convenient comfort

As the weather turns colder and baby's once tentative flutters evolve to full-on forty yard field goal kicks, I have found myself in need of some culinary comfort.
At the same time, I want to lay by the fireplace with my feet up for as long as possible. So, I take shortcuts.

The greatest gift the modern supermarket has provided the sometimes lazy home cook is, in my opinion, the rotisserie chicken. Hours of cook time are slashed, there's no handling of raw chicken, and one bird can provide for several make ahead meals--very important for those "I need food, NOW" moments of pregnancy.
I like to remove the breasts to slice on top of greens for a lunch with some nice, lean protein, or to shred and make chicken salad or quesadilla filler. Then, I pick the carcass clean. All the meat I pull off goes into one of my favorite, wholesome comfort food meals: chicken corn chowder.

Chicken Corn Chowder
serves 6

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 1/2 cups medium diced carrots
2 Tbs cold butter
3 Tbs all purpose flour
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
3 cups large diced Yukon Gold potatoes
2-3 cups shredded chicken
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup heavy cream
dash hot pepper sauce (Tabasco, Texas Pete's...whatever you like)
dash Worcestershire sauce
salt and black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, and carrots and saute until softened, 5 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and stir until melted. Add the flour and stir vigorously to coat vegetables, stir and cook 2 minutes. Add stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any of the flour mixture which may have stuck. Bring to a boil.
Add potatoes, chicken and corn. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in heavy cream. Season to taste with hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Thin with additional stock or water if necessary.
Serve with hot biscuits or crusty bread.