Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Slow Cooker Potato, Sausage and Sweet Corn Chowder
Friends of Joyously Domestic know that I love my slow cooker. It is - without a doubt - my best friend in the kitchen. As a mom of three kids still at home, it seems that we are constantly on the go and live life on a pretty busy schedule - especially during the school year. With the kids starting school today (ninth, fifth and first grades), I'm sure this year will be no exception!
Preparing wholesome, from-scratch meals at home while keeping up with sports, band, theater and the like can be tricky, at times. That's where my slow cooker comes in. I utilize it probably three-to-four times a week. We love soups, stews and chowders, so this recipe is a favorite. It is a loose adaptation of the Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder recipe that I shared here on the blog back in January.
I've chosen to use ground Italian sausage here, but you could use bacon, ham or leave the chowder meat-free. I throw in a diced chipotle pepper (they come canned in adobo sauce). My family doesn't care for overly spicy food, but using just one pepper gives this chowder some great additional flavor and a hint of smokiness. Below is how they come in my grocery store. I can easily find them at most markets. Since they are strong in flavor and only one is needed for this recipe, you can save the remaining peppers and sauce for another use. (I freeze a pepper or two in snack-size plastic bags for single-serve portions when needed in the future.)
Recipe yields 6 - 8 servings.
For nutritional value information of this recipe, visit my post of this recipe on My Recipe Magic. Click the "Nutrition" tab at the top of the post there.
1/2 pound ground mild Italian sausage (or removed from casing if in link-form)
8 - 10 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 - 1 1/2 cups corn (I prefer fresh sweet corn [about 2 ears worth], but frozen would work)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped finely (optional, but recommended)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
Juice of one lime
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
5 cups chicken stock (or 5 cups water and 5 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 - 1 1/2 cups half & half or heavy cream (I prefer heavy cream)
Salt and pepper, as needed
Brown sausage in a skillet set to medium-high heat until fully cooked through and slightly crisp. Drain.
Add all ingredients except for the heavy cream (or half & half) into slow cooker. Stir to combine. (First photo below is prior to adding chicken stock.)
Cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for about 6 hours.
Blend about half the soup using an immersion blender (or just scoop it into your upright blender, then return to slow cooker).
Add in the heavy cream (or half & half). Stir to combine. Lid and allow chowder to return to temperature - this takes about fifteen minutes.
Check for seasoning - add salt and/or pepper, as needed.
Serve topped with additional fresh cilantro for garnish and/or shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.
NOTE: If you wanted to make this a little more healthful, the cream or half & half could be omitted. The soup could simply be served as a broth-based soup. Or, you could blend it to create a creamier consistency, then serve.