Bacon and Crab Chowder
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery ribs from the heart with leaves, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
6 cups whole milk
12 ounces lump crabmeat, from the seafood counter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay brand (a palmful)
3 tablespoons dry sherry
4 tablespoons snipped chives
Put a medium pot over medium-high heat, then add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and the bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Pour off a little of the bacon fat, leaving a thin, even layer. Add the potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper and bay leaf to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the milk, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.
Run your fingers through the crabmeat to check for shell bits, then combine it with the thyme and seafood seasoning. Uncover the pot, stir in the crabmeat and simmer for 6-7 minutes, until the potatoes are just fork-tender and the soup has thickened. Finish the chowder with the sherry and serve with the crispy bacon, chives, oyster crackers and hot sauce.
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling on stoup at the table
3 green or yellow bell peppers, diced into bite-size chunks
1 large softball-size onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)
1 quart chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
4 cups stale crusty bread, torn or chopped (half a loaf)
Salt and black pepper
1 cup basil leaves (about 20), torn
Place a soup pot over medium-high heat with three turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Add the peppers, onion and garlic -- as you chop them, drop them into the pot. Let the veggies cook for 10 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar, then stir to cook it down, 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock and crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil and then add the bread. Within 5 minutes the bread will bloat; stir to break it up. Simmer for another 5 minutes to really thicken the stoup up. Season stoup with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold in the basil.
The stoup is done when a spoon stands upright in pot. Ladle the stoup into bowls and top with extra-virgin olive oil and cheese.
Corn and Salsa Tortilla Soup
Recipe courtesy of Serves four
3 poblano chiles
6 corn tortillas, halved then cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick strips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 ears fresh corn, kernels scraped from the cob, or two boxes frozen corn kernels (10 ounces each)
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
One container vegetable broth (4 cups) or (32 ounces)
One can fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
1 avocado, chopped
1 lime, halved
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/4 cup sour cream
Pre-heat the broiler. Broil the poblanos until blackened, 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool. Peel, seed and chop the poblanos.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, toss the tortilla strips with 1 tablespoon oil and the cumin. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes; season with salt.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook until charred at the edges, 10-12 minutes. Add the red onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and poblanos.
Divide the tortilla strips among 4 soup bowls. Add the avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Ladle the soup over the avocado. Top with cilantro; serve with the sour cream.