Thursday, February 5, 2009

Anyone Want Some Soup?

Sorry that it has been a while since I have posted anything. I have been pretty busy at home and work and to make things worse, I have been sick all week (which is why this post does not have a picture). Since I have not been feeling well, I thought some hearty soup was in order and when I opened my new "Cooking Up A Storm" cookbook, I found exactly what I was looking for.

First a bit about my new cookbook. I first heard about the "Cooking Up A Storm" cookbook on NPR. As soon as the story was over, I called my sister-in-law and asked her about it, to which she responded yes, she was thinking about getting it also. It is so popular that it took me a month to get my copy in the mail! If you are not from New Orleans, this cookbook is the closest thing you will get to having good, local, home cooked New Orleans food. It is chocked full of stories about people searching for recipes of all kinds that were lost during Hurricane Katrina. The bookstores here in Atlanta will not have any copies in stock (I called all of them and asked), but you can get it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Borders online.

So back to my soup. I wanted to make something that would be quick and easy and would not require a trip to the grocery store (which did a good job of narrowing my choices to a few). I get to page 57 and see the ingredients list for the "Crawfish and Corn Chowder" and luckily I have everything on the list already in my house. I know many of you may not have crawfish in your freezer and that is OK, you can substitute ham or shrimp or just leave the meat out altogether. I am luck enough to usually have some peeled crawfish in my freezer (I get a few packs of them every time we go to New Orleans because I cannot find them here in Atlanta).

This is super easy to make -- chop some veggies, sauté them for a few mins, then put in some stuff in the pot and let it simmer, then put in the rest of the ingredients and let it finish cooking for a bit. I am happy to report that the soup was just what the doctor ordered; a bit salty from the chicken broth, a bit sweet from the corn, loaded with potatoes and juicy tender pieces of crawfish - YUM! I can't wait to try more recipes from this cookbook!

Crawfish and Corn Chowder
from Cooking Up a Storm, Recipes Lost & Found from the Times Picayune of New Orleans

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (I used a few of the most inner stalks, they are the sweetest)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
t teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes with their juice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 to 8 new potatoes, quartered (I cheated on this one and used simply potatoes)
1 1/2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (for garnish)

Warm the oil over medium heat in a 3 quart saucepan and sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrot until the onion is golden. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and garlic and continue cooking for 1 or 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue cooking until tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the corn and crawfish and simmer until the corn is tender, but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, garnish each bowl with parsley.

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