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Monday, February 17, 2014

Contest-Winning Recipes

Jules here-

As an avid fan of Top Chef and Iron Chef, I have longed to compete against a master chef (o.k., maybe not compete--- but to eat with one... that would be great....).  Well, my desire came true on Saturday night when my fantastic-foodie friend, Don, and I competed for "Top Soup of New Hampshire" ( least on our street...)

I scoured the internet for recipe ideas, and I came across several options for the classic New England clam chowder.  I combined several different recipes to create the ultimate contest-winning recipe:

For the Chowder
1/4# Bacon (turkey or regular)
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 Cup)
2 TBS butter
1/4 Cup flour
2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 Cup)
14 oz can of clam stock
1# peeled and diced (about 1" cubes) potatoes (about 4 cups, chopped)
3 6.5oz cans of chopped clams (reserve juice)
2 Cups Half & Half (or half milk/heavy cream or combination)
1 can drained whole kernel corn

For the Croutons 
1/2 Loaf of baguette, cubed
2-3 TBS butter
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper

Melt butter in pan. Add bread cubes and toss until coated and toasted.  Toss salt, pepper and parsley and turn off heat.

1. Chop and cook bacon in large stock pot. Cook until almost crisped, remove from pot.
2. Add celery, onions & 2 TBS butter to pot. Saute vegetables until softened (about 4-5 minutes).
3. Add clam juice from the clam cans and add flour with whisk until blended.
4. Add clam stock and potatoes.  If potatoes aren't covered in liquid, add water (less than 1 cup)
5. Simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are softened, but not too soft.
6. Add 2 cups half & half, clams, and corn.
7. Simmer additional 5-6 minutes until heated through.
8. Serve with croutons and enjoy!

Serves about 6-8---depending on how hungry everyone is.

Now, I shall not leave you with just one recipe-- the night was a delight for our tummies... and we had TWO delicious soups to experience. Don's soup was fantastic and the judges were divided; unfortunately for him the three child-judges did not have such a refined palate for spices.  I swept the children's vote, but I honestly am quite partial to this fantastic soup.  This originates on and Don added a few tweaks (like using roasted corn) that made this fantastic.

Mexican Chicken Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
Few dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
1 lime
1 cup cooked white rice
Kosher salt
Sour cream, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and sweat until soft and translucent. Add spices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add tomatoes, chicken, Worcestershire, and stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Cut the lime in half, squeeze juice into the pot, and then add the juiced halves as well.

Add white rice and cook 5 minutes longer to warm rice through. Season, to taste, with salt.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream and cilantro.

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Easy Rule #4241 Spice up the winter season by starting new traditions with neighbors and friends!

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