Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beggar's Chowder - A Crock-Pot Recipe

Who said beggars can't be choosers? This plain Jane recipe won the last Rival Crocktober competition - my first big win. As a matter of fact, it's my only big win. Despite that, I've kept my sense of humor and a sure belief that lightening can strike twice, if you're willing to fly kites and stand under tall trees in thunderstorms. I do dumb stuff like that. I've made this recipe, in one form or another, for decades. It first simmered on a two burner stove in the basement apartment that was our first home. In those days the chowder was made with turkey necks and truly was a beggar's chowder. It stayed in my recipe rotation as we moved uptown and ended up in the kitchen of the Institute for Culinary Education where it was judged best of show. If you're always on the lookout for crock-pot recipes, give this one a try. It will not disappoint.

Beggar's Chowder

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 skinless, bone-in turkey thighs, trimmed of visible fat
Cooking spray
2 (14.75-ounce) cans creamed style sweet corn
1 (10.5-ounce) can condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
1 pound cleaned, stemmed white mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cilantro or parsley
Salt and pepper

1) Combine butter, flour, garlic salt, pepper, thyme and paprika in a small (1 quart) mixing bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, work the mixture to form a smooth paste. Rub the paste into all sides of the turkey thighs.
2) Spray the stoneware insert of a 5 1/2 - 6 quart slow cooker with a nonstick cooking spray. Place peppers and onions in stoneware. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and microwave, covered, on HIGH power for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Put the turkey thighs in the bottom of the stoneware; cover with the the creamed corn and the undiluted chicken broth. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until the turkey is fork tender.
3) Remove the turkey thighs from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. While the turkey cools add the mushrooms and diced tomatoes to the liquid in the stoneware; cover the pot and continue to cook for 1/2 hour more.
4) While the mushrooms are cooking, remove the turkey meat from the bones in bite size pieces.
5) When the mushrooms are tender, return the turkey to the chowder; add the heavy cream and the cilantro or parsley and cook, covered, until heated through, about 15 minutes more. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Yield: 8 servings.

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Susan C said...

It sounds like this beggar has the best credentials in town. But you had me at "crock pot."

Can't wait to try it.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Susan. you'll love this one. Molly Gordy, who at the time of the contest was also writing food articles liked it. I was thrilled.

Heather S-G said...

I think I would probably beg for this...it looks so warm and comforting. I wish I could reach out and grab that spoon through the screen. This is one I will definitely try :)

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

Mary, this looks so good. My problem here would be finding 4 turkey thighs. If I can't, will substitute chicken thighs but I know it will not taste the same. Turkey parts is very unusual down here.

NKP said...

We don't see turkey parts here either, barring the occasional $20 breast (single!). Chicken is available though, should be a reasonable sub.
Your chowder sounds so comforting, perfect for these days, where we still have frost at night.

Karen said...

That picture tells it all... looks so comforting and delicious :)

noble pig said...

Oh yum. I would beg for it and finish my bowl!

Ginger said...

What could I say for you to send me some?? If nothing else I have the recipe and the wonderful photos to look at.

Jamie said...

Yum! I see that your blog will quickly become daily reading for me! Fab recipe!

Donna-FFW said...

OH!! A Contest winner.. I have to try it, Mary. Congrats what an honor!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Jamie and Ginger, it's nice to have you with us. I hope you'll come again.

The Cooking Photographer said...

This looks so good. I am drooling.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Laura, this is good. Do try it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary, your recipe made it into the Rival Crock-Pot recipe book and looked like one of the best. What do you think about using chicken or turkey breast, instead of dark meat?

Mary Bergfeld said...

Anonymous, chicken will over cook. Turkey breast can be used but turkey thighs are more flavorful. I Hope this helps. Blessings...Mary

Chaya said...

This sounds really delicious but I have one question--do you think it would be good vegetarian? I would hesitate to leave out all the cream and make it meat (I'm always trying to make things Jewish-friendly for my kosher kitchen).

Mary Bergfeld said...

Chaya, this will not work for vegetarian diets. The turkey and chicken stock are required to give it flavor. You could try using a nondairy creamy in place of cream, but the dish will lose its richness. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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