By the Cup or By the Bowl, You’ll Go Back for More

This Sunday we prepared two more recipes from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food From My Frontier”: Corn Chowder and Apple Dumplings. For the most part we followed the recipes, doubled, and they were no disappointment to the palate!

Corn Chowder

Simmering corn chowder: perfection in a pot

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to make the corn chowder. For one thing, it uses fresh corn-on-the-cob (you slice the kernels off of the raw cob before adding to the soup.) Of course we had to sample the kernels before adding and they were incredibly sweet. This recipe calls for bacon (yes!), chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (yes, again!), green chilies (do I dare say it?), and the typical chowder ingredients, to include broth, cream, and onions. The biggest change we made was to use a whole package of bacon instead of the 4 strips that the doubled recipe called for. I mean, really, 4 strips? We took a vote and it was unanimous. Use the whole pack of bacon. One thing that added tremendous flavor to the recipe is the way you were directed to start cooking the bacon, add the onion after a few minutes, then the corn after a few more before adding any liquid. They were cooked together for a few minutes so their flavors could marry. Absolute genious, Ms. Drummond. Genius! Since we had added the extra bacon, we removed some of it before adding the broth and cooked it up to crispy to use for garnish. GREAT IDEA! The corn had sweetened it up and I just don’t have the words to describe the succulent flavor.

This chowder turned out absolutely amazing! Super creamy, wonderful combination of sweet from the corn, salty from the bacon, and a little bit of spice from the peppers and Adobo sauce. Flora does not care for spicy food, but she said she really liked this balance of spice and flavor. There is one thing we will change when we make it next time: we will substitute half-n-half for the heavy whipping cream. Half-n-half has approximately 1/3 the fat as the heavy cream does (heavy cream is approximately 38% fat, and half-n-half is 12% fat). In my own experience, it will still make a wonderfully creamy chowder. We might even behave and use the specified amount of bacon.

Nah, we probably won’t.

Next up: Apple Dumplings

I loved the simplicity of this recipe. Use prepared crescent roll dough and wrap each piece around a slice of apple. The recipe called for Granny Smith; since we were doubling it anyway we decided to try Gala apples for the second recipe.

The Pioneer Woman provides a fantastic recipe involving butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and Mountain Dew. (Really, Mountain Dew!) The only thing we really didn’t follow in this recipe was to pare the apples because we all love cooked apples with the skins on. We will pare them next time, for sure, since the skins made them just a little difficult to “cut” with the edge of a spoon. You will want to use a spoon, I promise, because the syrup is off the charts scrumptious! We kept the leftover syrup to pour on our waffles this morning!

The Pioneer Woman has a family of hard laborers working their ranch, and I am sure they quickly burn off the calories from the incredibly rich meals they eat. We… well, we do not really “labor.” Flora and I have decided to look for lighter, yet still delicious, substitutions in the recipes we review, and to find some that are not quite so heavy to begin with. Next week we will be fixing another recipe from the same book: Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with roasted root veggies. We will fix a dessert from the book as well; I am just going to pretend that calories don’t exist on Sundays. I can’t wait!

Again, the book we are going through right now is “The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food from My Frontier” by Ree Drummond.