Potato Ham Chowder

– johanna | May 17th, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES - Soup / Salad

I had never made ham stock before. It was just as simple as making chicken broth, throw the bone in a pot cover with water and boil. Add some veggies for additional flavor. Ham stock is surprisingly rich. Make sure to skim off as much fat as possible. You could reduce the 5 cups of ham stock by a couple cups replacing the two cups with water.

Source: Adapted from Yellow Swirl
1/2 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4-5 large potatoes, diced
5 cups water or ham stock
2-3 cups chopped ham
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped broccoli
3 tablespoons minced shallots, or onion
3/4 cups rice flour, or all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups half-and-half, or milk
1 cup chicken stock or broth
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put ham stock in a pot, add onions, carrots, celery and potatoes. Simmer over med heat until veggies are soft, about 20 min.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add 1 cup broccoli and 3 tablespoons minced shallots. Sauté until shallots are tender. Whisk flour into the chicken stock to make a slurry. Pour both the stock and milk into the sauce pan whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Purée the broccoli soup if desired.

When the veggies are tender, add the soup mixture and the ham.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat down and simmer for about 20-30 more minutes, until potatoes are desired tenderness. Taste and season with salt and/or pepper if needed.

To make the ham stock, put your leftover hambone in a large pot and add an onion, a celery stalk, a bay leaf or two and some parsley. Cover with water, bring it to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer it for several hours until all the meat has fallen off the bone. Remove any white foamy stuff that forms on top of the water. Strain out all the cooked bits and reserve the liquid. That’s your ham stock.

Try adding some sweet potatoes in addition to white potatoes for a flavor variation.

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Homemade Ranch Dip

– johanna | May 3rd, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

Ranch Dressing

I have never liked the stuff in the green and white bottles labeled as Ranch Dressing. You have to question a substance that does not rinse off the plate easily. If it has to be scrubbed off a surface I can’t imagine what it is doing to the inside the body.

We switched to an organic ranch dressing without the chemicals and soy, the way nature intended- with real food. I had to drive 30 minutes to the only store around that carried it. Needless to say the family had to endure eating their veggies without it. I was looking at the bottle one day and thought, you know I can make this stuff. It is only some herbs and buttermilk. How hard can it be?

Several recipes later… the only part I do not like is the addition of mayo. I tried making it with all yogurt and some lemon juice. That did not end so well. I also wanted to use ingredients that I will almost always have on hand. Based on that criteria alone the use of buttermilk was ruled out. Chef John’s recipe was a unanimous hit with the kids. Dad and I however, did not like that it had too much mayo flavor. I cut out a couple tablespoons but ideally I like to use use 1/3 cup mayo and 1 1/4 cup greek yogurt. I dislike using the mayo but I have yet to figure out how to replace the flavor it lends.

If you are looking for a good homemade recipe to wean the kids on then this is a good start. Normally I use the variations listed below- milk and vinegar vs buttermilk, oregano in place of the dried and fresh herbs. It is what I have on hand. Once I master the mayo problem I will list it under variations.

Source: adapted from Chef John
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons sliced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Serve with cold fresh vegetables, or thin out dip with a few splashes of buttermilk to make ranch dressing.

Tip: for thicker dip reduce the amount of buttermilk slightly.

yield: 1 1/2 cups

– I prefer 1/3 cup mayo to 1 1/4 cup greek yogurt.
– If using real onion use 1/4 cup minced.
– If you do not have parsley, chives and tarragon, sub a teaspoon dried oregano.
– Replace buttermilk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar and enough milk to make 1/3 cup.

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