I’mmm baaaacck!!!!! A BIG HELLO to ALL! Did ya miss me? I missed posting to my blog but I so needed this blogging break. So I’m almost back in blogging mode and sheesh, I just noticed the last blog I posted was towards the end of May when I posted my Mini Strawberry-Lemon Cheesecakes. Time sure flew by. Here in Florida we’re several weeks well into a new school year. I don’t know about you but the school year always throws me for a loop in terms of food and what to cook because of work, kids doing homework and needing to be fed and in bed by a certain time. Well because of that and because we’re almost heading into fall, I decided to post the first soup recipe for the “almost” fall season fast approaching us. This is about the easiest recipe you’ll find for making a delicious bowl of creamy potato & bacon chowder in less than 30 minutes. This time frame is based on using a pressure cooker. But not just any pressure cooker.
For those who follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m referring to what I call the “McDaddy” of all pressure cookers, my favorite, the “Instant Pot” for which I have sung its many praises because of the ease and quickness that you will have a meal on the table in so much less time than if you did it when coming home from work, church, etc. Some recipes that I’ve posted using a pressure cooker that are fast, easy and delicious to make are Boneless Pork Roast with Creamy Tarragon Shallot Sauce and Quick Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup. I highly recommend you check those out after purchasing the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or any other pressure cooker. You’re going to love the ease of making this chowder which also uses Simply Potatoes instead of baking and then cutting up regular potatoes:
Now about the only thing with this recipe is the debate going on in my household on whether the description for this recipe should be whether it’s considered “chowder” or “soup”. Someone even tossed in the word “bisque”, so naturally I had to put an end to the mystery of what exactly is classified “chowder”, “soup” and “bisque”. Soup is easy, we’ll eliminate it from the running because soup is, well, soup (i.e., chicken noodle, beef soup, vegetable soup). Next is chowder. I thought long and hard about this one until I did a search and here’s what I found:
“Bisque refers to a soup, usually vegetable or seafood-based and frequently cooked with wine, that’s been puréed and spiked with cream for a thicker, clingier consistency just begging for a fancy toast to go with it. If you’re thinking “well I ain’t fancy,” think again. If you’ve ever eaten “cream of anything,” you’ve experienced bisque. And just to cover all our bases, “bisque” can also refer to a type of ceramic and a color of paint that’s nothing to write home over. Just beige.
Chowder is a different beast. Your bisque may have once been chowder, but your chowder was definitely never bisque. They’re also usually seafood and/or vegetable based, but aren’t puréed. In fact, the best part of chowder (besides repeating it in various dialects) is the chunks. They might be clam, potato, bacon or corn, but they’re there. Why “chowderhead” is considered an insult eludes us.” Information obtained by: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/08/06/whats-the-big-difference-between-bisque-and-chowder/
Are we clear on that yet?
Yeah, I didn’t think so…and since I still wasn’t sure how to classify this, I decided to make the final call and my decision is:
Here’s a fun mini-video that shows how easy it is to make:
And here’s the recipe, Enjoy!:
- 1 20 oz. PACKAGE OF ORIGINAL DICED SIMPLY POTATOES, once cooked and before pureeing, reserve some for garnishing the finished chowder
- ½ lb. thick sliced bacon, diced and fried crisp (reserve the oil of bacon)
- 2 stalks celery, sliced thin then diced
- 2 medium carrots sliced thin and diced
- 1 medium onion, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 Tablespoon, kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper OR USE 1 tbsp of ANGIES ADOBO and omit using salt and pepper
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth (remember if you use chicken stock it has little or no salt and broth has plenty so adjust your use of salt accordingly if you use broth as I did for this recipe)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream or (1/2 cup heavy cream and ½ cup half and half)
- sour cream, optional
- shredded cheddar cheese (HIGHLY recommend Sargeanto 4 State Cheddar)
- cut up green onion, very optional
- reserved diced potatoes, for adding to soup when serving
- reserved bacon bits
- Start off by making your mirepoix by dicing up your celery, carrots and onions and set aside.
- In the inner chamber of your pressure cooker place your diced bacon and proceed to fry it until cooked and slightly crispy (once removed, the bacon will continue to cook slightly in the oil that's why you don't want to over crisp it). Once cooked, remove bacon from inner chamber into a separate bowl leaving behind most of the bacon fat in pot.
- Place your mirepoix into the chamber pot with the bacon fat and sauté until tender making sure your onions do not burn.
- Once tender add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Turn off and remove inner chamber so that it does not continue cooking.
- In a skillet on your stovetop, prepare your béchamel sauce by melting your butter and then adding your flour and stirring this until the flour is cooked out. You'll notice that it will turn slightly brown but don't fret this is when you will slowly begin to add your cream all the while whisking and whisking so that it doesn't bubble too harshly.
- Continue whisking, lowering the heat if necessary. When thickened, set béchamel aside and off the heat.
- Place simply potatoes into the pressure cooker chamber along with chicken broth or stock and mix thoroughly.
- Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper or adobo if necessary. Stir to combine.
- Put lid on pressure cooker and lock into place and set pressure cooker to "soup". If you're using instant pot it automatically defaults the cooking time to 5 minutes and that's what you want. If you're not using instant pot, WHY THE HECK NOT?????just kidding, not really but ok so you'll have to make sure to cook the potatoes thoroughly, or if using another type of pressure cooker, set Manual mode button to 5 minutes.
- Once the time is up, quick-release the pressure cooker. Remove lid once pressure is released.
- Stir chowder and remove some of the diced potatoes that you're going to use for garnish. Then using your immersion blender, purée the rest of your chowder or use a potato masher.
BEFORE ADDING IN THE BECHAMEL SAUCE-FOLLOW THIS VERY IMPORTANT STEP:
- To add in your béchamel sauce, TEMPER this sauce BEFORE adding to soup broth or you'll have a curdled mess to deal with. Don't say I didn't warn you if you don't follow this step.
- To temper your sauce just add some of the hot broth, SLOWLY little by little, to the béchamel sauce THEN place the sauce from the skillet to the broth. Your béchamel sauce should now be TEMPERED. See told ya, easy peasy.
- Stir fully to incorporate making sure it blends in well.
- Chowder should be thick but if you're doing it anywhere else but in a pressure cooker you may want to continue to simmer the chowder until it thickens.
- Check your seasoning once again and adjust to taste.
- Ladle chowder into bowls garnishing with bacon, cheese and green onions and sour cream if desired.