Category Archives: carrot

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

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I know today is supposed to be Tinsel Tuesday, but I had several of my Facebook followers ask for this recipe when they found out I was making it yesterday. This year I am trying to get as many things done ahead of time so I am not in a time crunch on Thanksgiving day. I am entertaining my son’s girlfriend’s family, so there will be anywhere from 10 to 15 people here at the house. Small kitchen + lots of people = I need to try to de-stress as much as possible! I have a 26 pound bird to cook so that has me stressed out enough!
The whole time I was cooking up this gravy Kevin kept saying “Wow it smells good in here” and it did. It smelled like Thanksgiving in my kitchen! Talk about  making you hungry? I wanted my turkey right then and there. That is the downside of make ahead gravy. This recipe takes a bit of time but creates such a rich flavorful gravy it is worth it!! Kevin and I were dipping bread in the remnants at the bottom of the pot!! I think we could have easily made that dinner had there been much more in the pan (the gravy in the rubbermaid container was off limits!).

The recipe I use makes about 8 cups of gravy total. You could cut it in half, but I seriously doubt you will have to worry about leftovers!!
Make Ahead Gravy
4 pounds turkey wings (can substitute chicken wings)
2 onions, quartered
6 carrots, cut in large chunks
6 stalks of celery, cut in large chunks
1 bottle dry white wine (I use Chardonnay)
2 quarts chicken stock (plus more if needed)
10 fresh sage leaves
9 cups water
3/4 cup corn starch
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the wings, onion, carrots, and celery in a roasting pan and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the wings are a deep golden brown. Remove the wings and veggies from the roaster and place them in a large soup pot   or dutch oven (8 quarts or  more) along with 2 quart of stock, 8 cups of water, and the sage leaves. 
Place the roasting pan on the stove top and heat over high heat. Add the wine and using a wooden spoon scrap up any browned bits that are on the bottom. Continue cooking until the wine cooks down to 1 cup of liquid. Add the wine to the pot with the wings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours uncovered.
Strain the broth into a large bowl, discard solids and skim any fat from the top. If broth is less than 8 cups add enough stock to bring it up to 8 cups. If it is more than 8 cups, return to soup pot and heat until reduced to 8 cups.
Bring the broth to a boil. Meanwhile whisk corn starch into the last cup of water. Whisk into boiling broth. Cook until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool and store in plastic container. You should have approx 7 cups of gravy. Refrigerate up to 5 days.
On the day you want to serve the gravy. Add the gravy to a large pot to reheat it. Add the strained drippings from the turkey and additional stock if needed to thin the gravy.  
ENJOY!!

Leftover Turkey Soup for What to do with #Thanksgiving #Leftovers #SundaySupper

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I love the holidays. All of the food, family, and fun. One of the things I especially love though is leftovers! I like to take the next few days and use them in tons of different ways. Leftover turkey sandwiches, Turkey Croquets, Turkey Casseroles, etc. But one of the families all time favorites is for me to make my turkey soup.

I love curling up with a big bowl of this soup the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone is still pretty full and I am tired from all of the cooking, so it usually ends up a family movie night, and more often than not the movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We all love that movie and it just kicks off Christmas for us. I give everyone a day off on Friday but I will have them out slaving away on Saturday putting up Christmas decorations LOL I mean I did feed them right? 

I do go a little overboard on the decorations sometimes, I will admit. When the kids were young we actually would have people bring their kids to see our house. The last few years we have toned it down, but since we moved into the new place Kevin has informed me that we are going to “light the whole place up”. Alrighty then, this could get interesting!!

This year I am also very happy to be able to share my recipe with the #SundaySupper crew.  If you haven’t heard about #SundaySupper yet let me explain. It is the baby of a wonderful woman and mentor Isabel from Family Foodie. It has been her mission to bring the family back around the supper table together. I am so proud and honored to participate in this with her and the many other fabulous bloggers who’s posts for this weeks theme of What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers are linked at the bottom of this page.




Leftover Turkey Soup

Broth:
1 leftover turkey carcass, picked clean of meat
4 cups chicken stock
6 cups water
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, halved
bay leaf

Soup:
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
1 (16-ounce) package of noodles (Recommended Grandma’s Fresh Frozen Homemade Style wide egg noodles)
2 cups cubed turkey meat
1 to 2 cups leftover gravy if available
Salt and pepper
Fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

To make the  broth: 
Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Add water if the level drops below the carcass. Remove turkey carcass from pot and discard.  Strain both with a colander into another stock pot.  Discard remains in colander.  

Make the Soup: 
In stock pot the broth cooked in, melt butter.  Add minced onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. If using, add gravy and mix well until gravy is heated through
Add onion mixture and 4 to 6 cups of stock to stock pot and bring to a boil.  Thaw noodles according to package directions.  Add pasta and boil for time required on package. Add turkey and simmer for 30 minutes. Check seasoning and add salt and or pepper if needed.  Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a little fresh parsley if desired.
If any soup is left over, it will thicken up after refrigeration.  Just add a little water (or leftover broth) when reheating to thin it back down.

ENJOY!!


Breakfast & Brunch

Main Course

Soups, Salads, Sides & Starters

Sweets & Desserts

Wine Pairings for the Recipes Featured

Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper today,  November 18, 2012.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.
Thanks for visiting this week!

Chicken with Herbed Dumplings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper

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I love the fact that this is one of the recipes I make that when my kids hear what I am making I hear a resounding YAY!!! They refer to it as my “Famous” Chicken and Dumplings. Gotta say that makes me feel good. I have been chomping at the bit for Fall weather to arrive just to make this meal! So you know when I found out this weeks Sunday Supper theme was “Soul Warming Dishes” I jumped ALL over it!! This truly is a soul warming meal. It is the perfect comfort food to me. There is never a time (OK maybe if it is 80’s degrees outside) that this doesn’t sound good to me, and I know the family feels the same.

This is one of the fist recipes that I came up with and have the recipe in my head. It has become more “a little bit of this and ……. oh ya, some more of that……ok lets add this too vs a strict recipe. So you can imagine when I got down to the business of cooking I though “Hhhmmmm I had better pay attention to what I do so I can actually “write” a recipe. I was glad I caught myself from the beginning so I didn’t have to back track and guess. I am sure you all wouldn’t appreciate a recipe that was a “guess” more than an actual recipe. Nobody wants to cook an experiment when they are hoping for a good meal!

If you are trying to eat healthier you can leave the dumplings off but they are OH so good, it would be hard for me to do that. I have made them from scratch but have used a little help from my friend Bisquick at times too, so if you want to make the dumpling and still be a bit “healthier” they have reduced fat Bisquick now and that can be an option as well.

Either way I am sure you will love this one!!

Chicken and Herbed Dumplings

For the soup
1 rotiserie chicken, shredded with skin and bones removed
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalk celery (with leaves on), diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine 
5 cups chicken stock
For the dumplings
2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick mix
2/3 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and poultry seasoning to the pot and stir well. Cover the pot and continue to cook the  veggies over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and add the flour, stir to combine well and cook for about 1 minutes to cook away the raw flour taste. Add the white wine, and stock (If you do not use wine add 6 cups of chicken stock). Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer soup for 30 minutes, until sauce has thickened and the vegetables are soft. Adjust seasoning if needed and add the shredded chicken.
In a medium bowl mix Bisquick, milk, and parsley. Stir until combined and drop by spoonfuls into soup. Cook the dumplings uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and turn off heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Soup will be HOT!
ENJOY!
We have over 50 contributors this week, bringing you their best warm you up dishes.  We have everything from stews, soups, main entrees and even some hot drinks and desserts. 
Just look at the list below that is coming to the #SundaySupper table this week!
Main Entrees: 
Chili/Stews:
Soups:
Desserts/Beverages:
Join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat. 
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your Sunday Supper Soul Warming Recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.

Also share at Under the Big Oak Tree’s Soups On Party

Ham and Bean Soup

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Again, as I wander through old picture files, I find a picture for a recipe that I never posted. It is like a game now for me, hide and go seek with pictures! I can’t believe I didn’t post this soup before. It is one of my favorite soups. This just screams cool fall evening, or winter night curled up by the fire. It really is a soup that puts my tummy in a happy place. Maybe it is because it is one of the first things I ever learned to cook from scratch, I don’t know. I know I used to love having the soup simmering for a few hours, it made me feel like a real cook. I do know I love it and so does my family!!
I use dried beans for this #1 because that is the way my Ex’s Mom showed me how to make soup, and #2 because I think it just gives the soup much more time to develop flavors. But you can easily use canned beans if you want to speed up the meal. You could also do this in a slow cooker. Just add the soaked beans with the other ingredients and set it on low if you need it to cook all days while you are at work.

I am so glad that it is soup weather again!! The stews, the chowders…mmmmm so many possibilities. That is the good thing about living in the Pacific Northwest. I have plenty of soup weather here! Although I am having a tough time teaching Kevin that it is OK to have soup for dinner. 
Kevin – What’s for dinner?
Me – (whatever kind it is) soup.
Kevin – What else?
Me – That’s it.
Kevin – You’re joking right?
Me – (looking in pot) Nope, I am pretty sure I am making soup.
Kevin – (looking in pot) Where’s the meat?
Me – In the fridge.
Kevin – (blank stare)
Me – You can have a ham sandwich or something to go with the soup.
Kevin – (shaking head and walking away mumbling) How can you have a meal without meat?
My poor carnivore, I feel bad for him…..not really…..well maybe just a little. 
Ham and Bean Soup
8 cups of *chicken stock, plus a bit extra to thin soup if needed (can sub water)
1 pound great northern beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 large ham steak, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken stock and beans to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at least 1 hour, to overnight (I prefer overnight if possible).
Stir in ham, onion, bay leaf, carrot, celery, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, (skimming foam from top as needed), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender. If soup is too thick, add a more chicken stock. If you like your soup “creamy” use a potato masher to mash up a few f the beans.

Serve with fresh baked corn bread.

ENJOY!!
* Link is for a tutorial on how to make homemade chicken stock if you prefer homemade.

Bobbi on a Budget – Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

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I know I haven’t posted a budget meal in a while but it has been a bit difficult for me to make meals for 4 when I never know how many I am going to have here. At any given time it could be 2 or 6 with no warning *sigh* the joys of kids right? This was a meal that I knew could be made and if it wasn’t all eaten I could freeze the rest. Yes, I love soup!!

I actually chose to make this because I was thinking about my Dad. I miss his little comments “What experiment are we having tonight” “I love being a guinea pig” “Can we please have something besides chicken I am going to sprout feathers and cluck” My Dad was a crack up! One of the things I knew I could make any time and he would be happy about it was split pea soup. He LOVED it. I haven’t made it since he passed away last year so this one was for my Daddy.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham
  • 8 to 10 parsley stems
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Tie the parsley stems and thyme together with kitchen string and place in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the split peas, leek, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water. Cover and cook on low until the split peas are tender 6 hours. Add the cubed ham and cook on low an additional 2 hours.
Discard the herb bundle. Vigorously stir the soup to break up the peas and make the soup smoother. Thin with water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the thawed peas. Serve with bread, if desired.

Food Star Friday – Chicken Noodle Soup

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday here at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen. I know, it is about time right? I can’t remember when the last FSF was. I really hate it when life gets in the way of my cooking and blogging! I would much rather be here with you all instead of deal with all of these pesky issues I have had to deal with!!

Yesterday I was bouncing around the grocery store picking up all of the items I needed for this meal. I was just so excited to be doing another FSF I couldn’t contain myself!!! Unfortunately the other shoppers and store employees did not share my enthusiasm. I was dancing in the produce isles and singing little tunes to myself. I was waiting for someone to say “straight jacket on isle 5” but hey, that is who I am. I admit I am a bit ummmm quirky. It is all part of my charm (at least it sounds good when I say that right?). Oops, I was supposed to talk about the recipe right? Ok I will get back to business.

This is a Tyler Florence recipe from the episode Ultimate Rainy Day Menu. Every single thing he made looked so scrumptious and with it raining here (of course it was raining I live in Washington!) I thought yesssss what a fabulous idea for Food Star Friday! I loved that it had the twist of cheese tortellini for the noodles and meatballs instead of chunks of chicken.

This recipe was fairly easy to put together. I usually follow the recipes on Food Star Friday word for word because it is about reporting my feelings on a Food Star’s recipe. I have to admit that I subbed a cup of white wine for one of the cups of chicken stock. I just add white wine to all of my chicken soups so I couldn’t help myself. Other than that I stuck strictly to the recipe.

Now, how did we feel about this soup? It was met with mixed reviews. Everyone loved the broth and thought the cheese tortellini was a nice twist. As for the meatballs….hmmmmmm. OK 1 vote was 100% loved them, another was about 80%. Kevin and I? Two thumbs down. We did not like them at all. As I was making them I was thinking in my head “this is not going to work” but I watched Tyler make them the very same way on the show so……I did it his way.

I will tell you why I feel they didn’t work and how I will do them different the next time (Yes there will be a next time because the rest of it was terrific). The recipe called for you to add 6 links of chicken/apple sausage to a food processor with the other ingredients for the meatballs. I just kept thinking “this is going to make the meatballs mealy and grainy” and my dear friends, I was right. Awful texture and they just fell apart. The next time I will just get the Jenny-O turkey sausage that is ground in a package, and mix my meatballs the regular way, adding a little bit of bread crumbs to help bind them. I would also bake them at 350 F for about 40 to 45 minutes VS frying them. Just my preference to save on fat. Also, keep the wine in there. Everyone LOVED the broth.

So in conclusion, I love Tyler Florence and this recipe is a jumping of point for me. But I will do it my way next time.

Chicken Noodle Soup

For the soup:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for 
    • garnish
    • 4 black peppercorns
    • Kosher salt
    • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

    For the meatballs:

    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • Olive oil
    • 6 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • 2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    For the soup:
    Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.
    For the meatballs:
    Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, remaining garlic, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.
    Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.

Pasta e Fagioli

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Hello and happy Friday everyone! I know it has been quite a while since I posted. I have been under the weather for the last week and didn’t do any cooking, so I was so happy to finally cook!! I have been wanting to make this soup for so long but for some reason I just never got around to it. But since I have been under the weather soup sounded soooo good!!

Trust me I was so glad I made that decision. This soup is so good and is going to become one of my favorite comfort foods now. If you like soup and/or Italian flavors you have got to make this. I put crushed red pepper flakes in mine and it just gives it a little heat, but if you don’t like that you can omit them and it would be just as good.

Make sure to have some nice crusty bread to sop up all of that tasty broth, and have your appetite with you too!!

Pasta e Fagioli

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
  • 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
  • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
  • 1 generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
  • Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup, add the parsley, and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.

Halibut Soup or just call it Epic Yumminess in a bowl!!

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I was sooooo excited to find this recipe! Halibut is one of my all time faves PLUS it was on sale (thank goodness) this week, so my pound and a half didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

The first time I made this soup was back when I had my blog “Rachael Ray and Bobbi Renee”. I was new to the whole blogging thing and got so carried away with how good the food came out I forgot to take a picture. I also forgot to completely read the recipe so when I got ready to make the soup WHOOPS not all the ingredients were there. I used to do that a lot. Luckily I have gotten much better.

This soup could be made with cod just as easily, and much cheaper, but I do love halibut so much and again it was on sale so I have no guilt about it.

I can’t say enough about how awesome this soup is!! With the andouille sausage and poblano pepper it gives you just enough heat to make it tasty but not blow the top of your head off. Oh and don’t forget the crusty bread to mop up all of that yummy broth!!!

Halibut Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled then sliced in half and cut into half moons
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can of hominy (white or yellow)
1 1/2 pounds halibut cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut in half and then cut into half moons
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 loaf of crusty bread
Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Remove the sausage casings and slice it thinly. Add the sliced sausage to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrot, poblano, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies are tender. Add the white wine and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the hominy, and zucchini and let cook on a slow simmer for 5 minutes. Slide the fish into the soup and turn the heat of. Cover the pot and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the fish to poach. This will prevent overcooking the fish. Uncover and stir in the parsley, cilantro, and lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with crusty bread for sopping. 

Loaded Potato Soup

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I have been under the weather for the last few days fighting a killer cold. I hate it when I am stuck in bed. I mean you can only watch so much food tv and Lifetime movies without feeling like you are going to lose your mind! I finally felt well enough to get up and cook last night and of course the one thing I wanted to make was a nice big bowl of soup.

A while back I found a recipe for the loaded potato soup they serve at the Carnation Cafe in Disney World. It sounded wonderful but called for a whole quart of heavy whipping cream!! Oh my clogged arteries!! I knew I needed to lighten it up a bit so I switched out some chicken stock for some of the whipping cream and half and half for the rest. Still not the healthiest it could be I guess, but I felt much better about eating this version. Not meaning to take anything away from the original recipe. I am sure it is amazing!

There is also another bonus to this recipe besides it being lightened up a bit. There is a fabulous, and I mean FABULOUS, giveaway going on over at Tidy Mom so Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid,Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset”. 


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Loaded Potato Soup
1 pound of bacon, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large stalks of celery, diced
2 small or 1 large carrot, diced
4 large Russet potatoes , peeled and diced small (about 1/4 inch)
4 medium red skinned potatoes, diced small
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
Kosher salt 
White pepper
2 cups half and half
fresh chives, chopped (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
In a 6 to 8 quart bacon, over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve on a paper towel.
In the bacon fat cook the onions, celery, and carrots until the onions are translucent. about 5 to 7 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whisk in flour and stir constantly. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Add chicken stock and half of the cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring soup to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Mash some of the potatoes for a creamier texture and add the half and half. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Adjust the thickness by adding more stock if necessary to reach a creamy consistency. Ladle into shallow bowls and top with your choice of garnish.
Serves 6 


Puffy Chicken Tacos

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I was so excited to try my hand at making these tacos. They looked so crunchy and yummy when I saw them at the restaurant that I just wanted to run home and get into my kitchen! Do you ever do that? I am sure I drive my family crazy with it. We will order a meal and when it comes to the table I of course have to talk about how the food looks, then how it tastes, then how I can figure out what is in it and recreate it at home. They all look at me like “Really? Can we please just eat our food?” *sigh* the hazards of living with a food blogger I guess. So this was one of those moments. Although they weren’t complaining when I made it….HA!!

I will have to admit, I struggled with the tortillas. I don’t know if the dough was too moist or too dry but I just couldn’t get it to stay together. So I had to use my back up plan and fry regular white corn tortillas until they were puffy. They were great but I will conquer the elusive homemade puffy corn tortilla, I swear!! In case you posses better tortilla skills than me, I will post the recipe for how to make the tortillas below.

The other thing I like about this recipe is that I made two dishes using ingredients from this one recipe PLUS I used my Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja. I will be posting the recipe for my Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup tomorrow so make sure and hang on to the broth that you cook your chicken in tonight!!

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Puffy Chicken Tacos
¼ cup olive oil

2½ lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and mashed
2 cloves garlic, minced 
Juice of 1 lime 
Canola oil, for frying
3 cups masa harina (corn flour)
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened 
Shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese, to garnish
Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to pan, skin side down; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper; cook, stirring, until soft, about 20 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes, and return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until chicken is very tender, about 1½ hours. Remove chicken from sauce, and let cool (Make sure to reserve sauce for Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup). Discard skin and bones, and shred chicken; set aside. Meanwhile, combine avocados, garlic, lime juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl; chill guacamole until ready to use, covering to avoid browning.
Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Stir together masa, butter, and 2¼ cups warm water in a bowl until dough forms; divide dough into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Using a tortilla press or rolling pin, flatten each ball into a 6½″ disk. Place 1 disk in oil. When it begins to puff, press the end of a metal spatula into the middle of the tortilla so that tortilla bends into a taco shape; hold spatula within tortilla until taco is golden brown and crisp, about 1½ minutes. Transfer taco to paper towels to drain; repeat with remaining tortillas. Divide chicken and guacamole among tacos; top with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.